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Prospective observational study of medication reviews in internal medicine wards: evaluation of drug-related problems


Background The Lund Integrated Medicines Management model offers a systematic approach for individualising and optimising patient drug treatment. Clinical, economical and humanistic outcomes have been shown as well as results from the medication reconciliation process. There is a need also to describe the medication review process.

Objective To describe the frequency and types of drug-related problems (DRPs) identified during medication reviews and to evaluate the actions of the pharmacists and the physicians regarding the identified DRPs.

Method Structured medication reviews were conducted by a multi-professional team on top of standard care for 719 patients in two internal medicine wards in a Swedish University Hospital. The medication reviews were studied retrospectively to classify DRPs and actions taken.

Results A total of 573 (80%) of patients had at least one actual DRP; an average of three DRPs per patient and in total 2164. Wrong drug and adverse drug reaction were the most common types of DRPs. The most frequent medication groups involved in DRPs were drugs for the cardiovascular system and the nervous system and the most frequent substances were warfarin, digoxin, furosemide and paracetamol. The 10 most common medications accounted for 27% of the actual DRPs. Of the identified DRPs, a total of 1740 (80%) were acted on. The three most common types of adjustments made were withdrawal of drug therapy, change of drug therapy and initiation of drug therapy. When the pharmacist suggested an adjustment, the physician implemented 88% (1037/1174) of the recommendations.

Conclusion DRPs are common among elderly patients who are admitted to hospital. Systematic identification of high-risk medications and common DRP types enables targeting of prioritised patients for medication reviews.

  • medical errors
  • drug-related side effects and adverse reactions
  • pharmacy service
  • hospital
  • medication systems
  • quality assurance
  • health care

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Relevant patient data were collected manually in a form and used for clinical purposes. After discharge, a code number was inserted and patient names deleted. This code was used when processing data.

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