Incorrect aseptic techniques in medicine preparation and recommendations for safer practices: a systematic review

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Many patient deaths have been reported because of administration of contaminated intravenous medicines due to incorrect aseptic techniques. Our aim was to review the literature for (1) incorrect practices in aseptic drug preparation and administration and (2) recommendations for safer practices in hospitals.


A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed covering 2007–2015. Studies were included if they concerned aseptic medicine preparation and administration in hospitals by different healthcare professionals, assessed incorrect practices and made recommendations for safer aseptic preparation and administration.


26 studies were included of which 19 were original articles. 12 of the studies concerned description of incorrect practices that led to contamination. The studies reported 11 incorrect practices that increased the risk of contamination of parenteral medicines. The most reported incorrect practices were multiple use of phials and syringes (2/12 studies) and lack of overall disinfection during the aseptic preparation and administration (3/12 studies). 22 practices were recommended to avoid contamination, which were classified into six categories: equipment and medicines (7); disinfection (6); working environment (3); storing (3); catheter care (2) and quality of prepared medicines (1). The results indicate that pharmacists prepared syringes with less contamination than nurses because of the pharmacist's aseptic skills and environmental aspects in pharmacy units.


The review discusses many appropriate and enhanced practices in aseptic drug preparation and administration. As the change for the better in contamination rates of administered medicines seems to be challenging to achieve in hospitals, better and possibly international procedures for safe parenteral practices need to be developed.

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