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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 373

Pharmacovigilance in Intensive Care Unit - An Overview


1 Senior Consultant, Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060, India
2 Professor & Ex Senior Consultant, Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060, India
3 Clinical Assistant, Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060, India
4 Senior Consultant and Chairperson, Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060, India
5 Senior Consultant and Chairperson, Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060, India

Correspondence Address:
Bimla Sharma
Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi-110060
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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The drug related complications are on the rise warranting special attention towards patient safety in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setup. Pharmacovigilance is the science about the detection, assessment and prevention of drug related problems. This review is aimed to highlight significant problems arising from medication errors with emphasis on special drugs used in ICU (oxygen, antibiotics, sedatives, analgesics and neuromuscular blocking drugs) and their risk reduction strategies in ICU utilizing practice of pharmacovigilance. Human error, lack of communication among various health providers, inadequate knowledge about drugs, failure to follow protocols or recommended guidelines are important causes of drug related problems in ICU. It is imperative that ICU administrators and medical directors of hospitals consider adverse drug events (ADEs) as system failures. Pharmacovigilance, an observational science is the need of the hour for patients admitted in ICUs. We need to give more emphasis on prevention rather than treating the potentially fatal complications arising from ADEs. Eternal vigilance is the key. Protocol based management, improvement of medication system, frequent audits, improved communication, good team work, a blame free environ­ment, inclusion of a pharmacist, leadership involvement and use of information technology in the ICU are possible solutions.


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