Injection compatibility: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Friday, May 04, 2018

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Describe what physical and chemical incompatibility means, and be able to explain the difference to others.
  • Advise ward staff how to avoid compatibility problems with injectable medicines, and be able to recommend safe alternatives.
  • Know the potential implications for patients if incompatibility occurs.

You can download a PDF of the whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as the Learning Exercises) and a one-page summary of key points.

You should allow 60 minutes to complete this tutorial, including the Learning Exercises.


This tutorial is aimed at hospital pre-registration pharmacists, and will help you achieve GPhC standards such as these:
  • A3  Manage problems
  • B1.4  Elicit all relevant information by the use of appropriate questions
  • C1.3  Assess the prescription for safety and clinical appropriateness. 
  • C2.3  Identify and take action to minimise risk to patients from their treatment
  • C2.4  Actively provide information and advice to healthcare professionals

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may help you meet competencies from the RPS framework including:
  • 1.2  Need for the medicine
  • 1.4  Selection of the medicine
  • 1.7  Monitoring medicine therapy
  • 3.3  Analysing information
  • 3.4  Providing information

Continuing professional development

Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

★  If you don't work on a ward where you encounter injection compatibility issues, then ask to visit a high care ward with a colleague. Reflect on the differences in pharmacy practice in a high care area. How else do pharmacists in a high care area ensure that injections are safe, other than checking for incompatibility?
★  If you have access to the Handbook on Injectable Drugs ("Trissel"), then read the introduction to discover how the published data on compatibility are interpreted and presented. Examine a selection of monographs to make sure you can understand how to apply the information in practice.
★  Next time you advise about a compatibility issue then write it up as a CPD exercise, clinical intervention, or case study. Present this case to your tutor, a colleague, or at a journal club and ask for peer feedback. Do you think your original approach was about right or did the feedback give you ideas for improvement?