This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

'Avoid kitchen spoons if you want the correct dose' say experts

By Lilian Anekwe

Most people still use kitchen spoons when pouring liquid medicines, but a new study finds dosing varies sharply with spoon size.

US researchers asked 195 patients at a university health clinic to dose 5ml of cold medicine using teaspoons, medium-sized tablespoons and larger spoons – and found they underdosed by 8.4% using the medium-sized spoon and overdosed by 11.6% using the larger spoon.

They warned dosing error could accumulate over time and encouraged GPs to remind patients to use appropriate measuring tools.

Lead author Brian Wansink, professor of consumer behaviour at Cornell University, USA, said: 'Although one would expect more experienced pourers, such as nurses or practiced parents, to be less biased, this may not be so. Even confident veteran bartenders poured 28% more liquor into short, wide glasses than into tall, slender glasses of the same volume.

'If a medicine's efficacy is tied to its dose, it is more effective to strongly encourage a patient to use a measuring cap, dosing spoon, measuring dropper, or dosing syringe than to assume that they can rely on their pouring experience and estimation abilities with kitchen spoons.'

Annals of Internal Medicine. Vol 52, no 1 pages 65-66.

'Avoid kitchen spoons if you want the correct dose' say experts (credit: Clearly Ambiguous Flickr)

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say