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Patient safety: methadone labeling requirements for carries

November 17, 2009

It has come to ACP’s attention that additional guidance regarding the labeling of methadone carries is needed to reduce medication and administration errors and ensure patient safety.  

  1. When you dispense “carry” doses, in addition to including the information on the label as prescribed in the standards, ensure the label includes administration instructions that clearly outline whether the medication is diluted at the time of dispensing as well as the total amount to be consumed in one daily dose (in milligrams). The suggested additional wording is: “Drug is diluted. Consume full bottle. Total daily dose is X mg.” 
  2. Additionally, the following label or similar cautionary warning must be affixed to the final product:
    “Methadone may cause serious harm to someone other than the intended patient. Not to be used by anyone other than the patient for whom it was intended”.

Pharmacists providing methadone prescriptions are encouraged to review Methadone Treatment in Alberta: Guidelines for Dispensing Pharmacists, available under Pharmacist Resources/ACP practice guidelines on the ACP website. 

Originally published in the November 17, 2009, issue of The Link