Detection and prevention of medication misadventures in general practice

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Abstract

Background

Adverse drug events are leading categories of iatrogenic patient injury. Development of preventive strategies for general practice setting depends on effective detection of events.

Objective

The aim of the study is to compare the strengths and weaknesses of voluntary reporting, chart review and patient survey in measuring medication misadventures in general practice and to analyze the events by severity and preventability, drug groups and patients' and doctors' characteristics, for the formulation of preventive strategies.

Method

In the 2-month study period, we applied voluntary report, chart review and patient survey to collect data related to medication misadventures and compared their detection rate.

Results

The chart review demonstrated the highest yield for detecting overall medication misadventures (2.03% medication orders), followed by patient survey (1.46% medication orders) and voluntary reporting (0.52% medication orders). Chart review and patient survey were better than voluntary reporting in uncovering preventable adverse drug events. However, voluntary reporting was pivotal in capturing sentinel events. Beta-blocker, diuretic, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs had caused 82.0% of all adverse drug events. These events were more common with advanced age of patients, greater number of consultation problems and prescribed drug items. Additional resources implicated were minimal.

Conclusion

We suggested a complementary approach using chart review and voluntary reporting in measuring and monitoring medication misadventures in general practice. Close monitoring of the events was necessary for older patients, multiple medical problems and poly-pharmacy and for patients using beta-blocker, diuretic, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on a long-term basis.

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