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Safety alert on sodium nitrite

A National Patient Safety Alert has been issued on the risk of death from unintended administration of sodium nitrite.

Sodium nitrite has one licensed indication: as an antidote to cyanide poisoning. It can cause significant side effects and is categorised as highly toxic. It should only be available in Emergency Departments.

Incidents have been reported where sodium nitrite was inadvertently administered instead of sodium bicarbonate, and other sodium containing injections. As the packaging and labelling of sodium bicarbonate ampoules are similar to unlicensed sodium nitrite ampoules, mis-selection errors are likely to be due to the inadvertent supply of sodium nitrite outside of Emergency Departments.

NHS acute trusts are asked to remove sodium nitrite injections from all clinical areas except Emergency Departments and replace unlicensed sodium nitrite ampoules with licensed sodium nitrite vials. Pharmacies and Emergency Departments are also asked to change procedures and storage policies for all ‘specialist antidotes’.

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Upcoming Events

EBME Expo 2021

Marshall Arena, Stadium MK, Milton Keynes Stadium Way West Milton Keynes MK1 1ST
30th June - 1st July

Central Sterilising Club 60th Anniversary Annual Scientific Meeting

Crowne Plaza, Bridge Foot, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YR
4th - 5th April

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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