If multi-dose vials must be used for more than one patient, they
should not be kept or accessed in the immediate patient treatment
area. This is to prevent inadvertent contamination of the vial
through direct or indirect contact with potentially contaminated
surfaces or equipment that could then lead to infections in
subsequent patients. If a multi-dose vial enters the immediate
patient treatment area, it should be dedicated to that patient
only and discarded after use. Examples of the immediate patient
treatment area include patient rooms or bays, and operating
rooms. Medication vials should always be discarded whenever
sterility is compromised or questionable.
In addition, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) recommends the
following for multi-dose vials of sterile pharmaceuticals:
If a multi-dose has been opened or accessed (e.g.,
needle-punctured) the vial should be dated and discarded within
28 days unless the manufacturer specifies a different (shorter or
longer) date for that opened vial.
If a multi-dose vial has not been opened or accessed (e.g.,
needle-punctured), it should be discarded according to the
manufacturer’s expiration date.