High-Alert Medications in Acute Care Settings

High-alert medications are drugs that bear a heightened risk of causing significant patient harm when they are used in error. Although mistakes may or may not be more common with these drugs, the consequences of an error are clearly more devastating to patients.

Use ISMP's List of High-Alert Medications in Acute Care Settings to determine which medications in your organization require special safeguards to reduce the risk of errors and minimize harm. Strategies may include:

  • Standardizing the ordering, storage, preparation, and administration of these medications
  • Improving access to information about these drugs
  • Limiting access to high-alert medications
  • Using auxiliary labels and automated alerts
  • Employing redundancies

How to cite: Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). ISMP List of High-Alert Medications in Acute Care Settings. ISMP; 2018.

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