Background: The more (inappropriate) drugs a patient uses, the higher the risk of drug related problems. To reduce these risks, medication reviews can be performed.
Objective: To report changes in the prescribed number of (potentially inappropriate) drugs before and after performing a medication review in high-risk polypharmacy patients. A secondary objective was to study reasons for continuing potentially inappropriate drugs (PIDs). Setting Dutch community pharmacy and general medical practice.
Methods: A retrospective longitudinal intervention study with a pre-test/post-test design and follow-up of 1 week and 3 months was performed. The study population consisted of 126 patients with polypharmacy and with additional risk for drug related problems that underwent a medication review in five community pharmacies. The medication review was performed by the pharmacist in close cooperation with the general practitioner of each corresponding patient.
Main outcome measure: Number of (potentially inappropriate) drugs, and appropriateness of prescribed medicines.
Results: The average number of drugs a patient used 1 day before the review was 8.7 (SD = 2.9), which decreased (p < 0.05) to 8.3 (SD = 2.7) 1 week after the review, and to 8.4 (SD = 2.6) 3 months after the review. The average number of PIDs was initially 0.6 (SD = 0.8) per patient and decreased to 0.4 (SD = 0.6, p < 0.05). Twenty-two of the 241 initial drug changes (9%) were deprescribed during follow-up. Registered reasons for continuing PIDs are clinical or patients’ preferences.
Conclusions: Performing medication reviews in polypharmacy patients seems useful to continue at least in high-risk patients in The Netherlands. The time-consuming reviews could be limited to patients who are willing to change their medication.
- Medication review
- The Netherlands
- Drug prescription