Drug-related problems in hospitals: A review of the recent literature

Universitätsspital Basel, Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland
Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.82). 02/2007; 30(5):379-407.
Source: PubMed


Problems associated with pharmacotherapy (in particular, medication errors and adverse drug events) are frequent and are associated with increased costs for treatment. Analysis of original publications published between 1990 and 2005 on the topics of medication errors and/or adverse drug events in hospitalised patients, focusing on the frequency of, risk factors for and avoidance of such problems associated with pharmacotherapy, indicated that medication errors occurred in a mean of 5.7% of all episodes of drug administration, but with a high variability among the 35 studies retrieved. This variability was explained by the methods by which medication errors were detected (systematic screening of patients versus chart review or spontaneous reporting) and by the way drugs were administered (intravenously administered drugs are associated with the highest error frequencies). Errors occurred throughout the whole medication process, with administration errors accounting for more than half of all errors. Important risk factors included insufficient pharmacological knowledge of health professionals, errors in the patient charts or documentation by nurses and inadequate pharmacy services.Adverse events or reactions, on the other hand, affected 6.1 patients per 100 hospitalised and also showed a high variability among the 46 studies retrieved. This variability could also be explained by the different methods of assessment of the frequency of adverse drug events or reactions, as well as by the different wards on which the studies were performed. Important risk factors for adverse drug events or reactions included polypharmacy, female sex, drugs with a narrow therapeutic range, renal elimination of drugs, age >65 years and use of anticoagulants or diuretics. Since medication errors are strong risk factors for preventable adverse drug events or reactions, strategies have to be put in place for their reduction. Such strategies include ensuring that all persons involved in the medication process (nurses, pharmacists and physicians) have good pharmacological knowledge, computerisation of the entire medication process, and the engagement of a sufficient number of clinical pharmacists on the wards.

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Available from: Markus L. Lampert
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    • "DRP comprise both non-preventable Adverse Drug Events (ADE) and errors in medication therapy that differ in their actual or potential risks to cause patient harm [2] . DRP are directly associated with impaired health outcomes , such as the worsening of symptoms or a prolonged hospital stay [3]. There is evidence for an increased prevalence of ADE and medication errors in the psychiatric setting compared with other medical conditions456, which substantially endanger the medication safety of psychiatric patients [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Aim of the study: This prospective, controlled trial aimed to assess the effect of pharmacist-led medication reviews on the medication safety of psychiatric inpatients by the resolution of Drug-Related Problems (DRP). Both the therapy appropriateness measured with the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI) and the number of unsolved DRP per patient were chosen as primary outcome measures. Methods: Depending on their time of admission, 269 psychiatric patients that were admitted to a psychiatric university hospital were allocated in control (09/2012-03/2013) or intervention group (05/2013-12/2013). In both groups, DRP were identified by comprehensive medication reviews by clinical pharmacists at admission, during the hospital stay, and at discharge. In the intervention group, recommendations for identified DRP were compiled by the pharmacists and discussed with the therapeutic team. In the control group, recommendations were not provided except for serious or life threatening DRP. As a primary outcome measure, the changes in therapy appropriateness from admission to discharge as well as from admission to three months after discharge (follow-up) assessed with the MAI were compared between both groups. The second primary outcome was the number of unsolved DRP per patient after completing the study protocol. The DRP type, the relevance and the potential of drugs to cause DRP were also evaluated. Results: The intervention led to a reduced MAI score by 1.4 points per patient (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.8-2.0) at discharge and 1.3 points (95% CI: 0.7-1.9) at follow-up compared with controls. The number of unsolved DRP in the intervention group was 1.8 (95% CI: 1.5-2.1) less than in control. Conclusion: The pharmaceutical medication reviews with interdisciplinary discussion of identified DRP appears to be a worthy strategy to improve medication safety in psychiatry as reflected by less unsolved DRP per patient and an enhanced appropriateness of therapy. The promising results of this trial likely warrant further research that evaluates direct clinical outcomes and health-related costs. Trial registration: Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien (DRKS), DRKS00006358.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Interestingly, whereas previous studies suggested that it was not necessary for junior doctors to know exact drug doses by heart [19,21], the experts in our study considered it essential that junior doctors should know the 'initial adult dose' of a drug. This might be because experienced doctors are aware that poor knowledge of drug dosages is a frequent cause of prescribing errors [1,3,9,11,16]. Better training and practice in choosing the correct drug dose during medical training could be an important component of interventions to reduce prescribing errors, for example by integrating prescribing training in clinical practice [2,34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to identify the information about commonly prescribed drugs that junior doctors should know in order to prescribe rationally in daily practice, defined as Essential Drug Knowledge (EDK). A two-round Internet Delphi study was carried out involving general practitioners from one practice cluster, and registrars and consultants from two Dutch academic and eight teaching hospitals. A preliminary list of 377 potential EDK items for three commonly prescribed drugs was assessed on a dichotomous scale; an item was considered EDK if at least 80% consensus was reached. The consensus list of EDK items was discussed by the research team to identify similarities between the three drugs, with a view to forming a list of general EDK items applicable to other commonly prescribed drugs. Sixty experts considered 93 of the 377 items (25%) as EDK. These items were then used to form a list of 10 general EDK items. The list of EDK items identified by primary and secondary care doctors could be used in medical curricula and training programmes and for assessing the prescribing competence of future junior doctors. Further research is needed to evaluate the generalizability of this list for other commonly prescribed drugs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
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    • "Almost half of these events are considered preventable and hence an important target for improve- ment [5,8910. Medication errors have multiple potential causes and can occur throughout the prescribing–dispensing process111213. Although several interventions to improve prescribing have been developed, their effect has yet to be established14151617. "
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale, aims and objectivesStructuring the diagnostic section of the medical record (MR) improves diagnosis and communication between doctors. However, little is known about the therapeutic section of the MR. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the extent to which MRs are structured for therapeutic information, to determine which therapeutic data registrars and clinical consultants consider should be recorded in the MR and to what extent registrars record this information themselves.MethodsA multicentre observational study was carried out in the internal medicine outpatient clinics of five teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. Preformatted structure, importance and actual recording of therapeutic information was compared with a reference list of 35 therapeutic items based on the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing (e.g. drug name, indication for drug).ResultsThe preformatted structure of four paper MRs and one electronic MR was assessed. Eight of the 35 therapeutic items were listed in the paper MRs and 18 items in the electronic MR. Registrars and consultants agreed on the importance of recording most of the therapeutic items in the MR, 25 and 27 out of the 35 items, respectively; however, registrars recorded only 11 of the 35 items in the paper MR and 20 of the 35 items in the electronic MR.Conclusions The structure and content of paper and electronic MRs are not adequate. While both registrars and consultants agree on the importance of recording therapeutic items in the MR, registrars fail to record most of this information in practice. The results of this study can be used as starting point for the discussion regarding the necessity of structured recording of therapeutic information in the MR and its possible benefits with regard to medication safety and training of the new generation of prescribers.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
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