University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors


  • Jamilah Alsaidan
  • Jane Portlock
  • Nada Shebl
  • Hisham Aljadhey
  • Bryony Dean Franklin
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-1011
Number of pages35
JournalSaudi Pharmaceutical Journal
Early online date23 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


Errors in medication use are a patient safety concern globally, with different regions reporting differing error rates, causes of errors and proposed solutions. The objectives of this review were to identify, summarise, review and evaluate published studies on medication errors, drug related problems and adverse drug events in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
A systematic review was carried out using six databases, searching for literature published between January 1990 and August 2016. Research articles focussing on medication errors, drug related problems or adverse drug events within different healthcare settings in the GCC were included.
Of 2094 records screened, 54 studies met our inclusion criteria. Kuwait was the only GCC country with no studies included. Prescribing errors were reported to be as high as 91% of a sample of primary care prescriptions analysed in one study. Of drug-related admissions evaluated in the emergency department the most common reason was patient non-compliance. In the inpatient care setting, a study of review of patient charts and medication orders identified prescribing errors in 7% of medication orders, another reported prescribing errors present in 56% of medication orders. The majority of drug related problems identified in inpatient paediatric wards were judged to be preventable. Adverse drug events were reported to occur in 8.5–16.9 per 100 admissions with up to 30% judged preventable, with occurrence being highest in the intensive care unit. Dosing errors were common in inpatient, outpatient and primary care settings. Omission of the administered dose as well as omission of prescribed medication at medication reconciliation were common. Studies of pharmacists’ interventions in clinical practice reported a varying level of acceptance, ranging from 53% to 98% of pharmacists’ recommendations.
Studies of medication errors, drug related problems and adverse drug events are increasing in the GCC. However, variation in methods, definitions and denominators preclude calculation of an overall error rate. Research with more robust methodologies and longer follow up periods is now required.

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