Introduction of thePill Prunerto acute medical care: A simple medication guide to control polypharmacy

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To assess the effect of a simple medication guide (the Pill Pruner) on the number of regular medications taken by older patients following medical admission.


In July 2009, following introduction of the Pill Pruner, we audited 500 consecutive older patients, recording the number of regular medications being taken on admission and discharge. Safety data included 90-day mortality and readmission rates. Medication numbers were compared to a similar audit undertaken in September 2008 and to a repeat audit in December 2009.


The mean number of medications on admission (± SD) was 6.3 ± 3 versus 6.5 ± 3 at discharge (P = 0.13). Number of discharge medications was decreased compared to September 2008 (7.7 ± 4; P = 0.001) but similar to that for the repeat audit. No change in mortality or readmission rate was seen.


Use of the Pill Pruner reduced the number of regular medications prescribed to older patients without affecting safety.

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