Availability of information for dosing commonly used medications in special ICU populations

Candice Eastman, Brian L. Erstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose. Medication product labeling was reviewed to determine if sufficient information is available to appropriately calculate dosing regimens for special intensive care unit (ICU) populations, including patients at extremes of body habitus and patients receiving hemodialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Methods. The labeling of the 100 most commonly used injectable medications in the adult ICUs of an academic medical center in Arizona were evaluated. Any information related to adult weight-based dosing, weight descriptors, dosing of patients at extremes of weight (body mass index of <18.5 or >40 kg/m2), and dosing of patients receiving hemodialysis, CRRT, or ECMO was extracted from Food and Drug Administration–approved product labeling. Information was ranked for dosing usefulness on a scale of 0 to 3; an information usefulness score of 2 or greater was considered minimally adequate for dosing special ICU populations. Results. Among the 100 medications evaluated, the labeling of 47 provided information on weight-based dosing, with the labeling of 30% referring to a specific weight descriptor. The labeling of 15 medications had information on dosing for patients at extremes of body habitus: underweight (3 medications), obesity (12 medications), and extreme obesity (2 medications), with the labeling of 8 medications receiving an information usefulness score of ≥2 (2, 6, and 1 medication in the respective categories). Among the 42 medications whose labeling provided hemodialysis-related dosing information, the labeled information of 52% was assigned a usefulness score of ≥2; among the 3 medications with CRRT-related dosing information, the labeling of 1 received a score of ≥2. ECMO-related dosing information was available for 2 medications, with 1 score of ≥2 assigned. Conclusion. Information in the product labeling of injectable medications commonly used in the ICU is limited and generally inadequate for calculating an appropriate dose for special ICU populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-534
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Dosage
  • ECMO
  • Hemodialysis
  • Medication safety
  • Obesity
  • Renal replacement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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