Errors involving patients receiving intrathecal chemotherapy

J Chemother. 2010 Apr;22(2):83-7. doi: 10.1179/joc.2010.22.2.83.


Errors involving patients receiving intrathecal chemotherapy are a significant problem in oncology. Despite the improvement in the management of antineoplastic agents, unintentional intrathecal administration of chemotherapic drugs that are indicated only for systemic administration or intrathecal overdose of drugs regularly used for intrathecal chemotherapy, continue to occur. These events can result in severe neurotoxicity, usually fatal in outcome. We review reported cases of medication errors in intrathecal administration of chemotherapy described in the literature. Diverse rescue therapies have been proposed but the most effective means of managing these errors remains prevention.

MeSH terms

  • Anthracyclines / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Overdose
  • Humans
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Medication Errors*
  • Vinca Alkaloids / administration & dosage


  • Anthracyclines
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Vinca Alkaloids