Do your patients have medicine related problems?
“Keep a watch…on the faults of the patients, which often make them lie about the taking of things prescribed. For through not taking disagreeable drinks, purgative or other, they sometimes die.” Hippocrates Decorum
It seems that not much has changed for over 2,500 years!
The World Health organisation reported in 2003 that almost 50% of patients with chronic illnesses, do not take medications as prescribed. This means that the potential for medication related problems is a real life problem for many people – including your patients, both young and old.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (Medication Safety in Australia) reported that medication related safety issues accounted for 230,000 hospital admissions in 2013. Moreover, it is likely that 20-30% of your elderly patients (65 yrs +) may require hospital treatment for medication related issues at some stage throughout the year. Importantly, medication related hospital admissions (2013) indicate that certain medicines may present a higher risk for some of your patients than others. This includes:
- Multiple psychotropic medicines resulting in 60% of admissions for confusion
- 40% of patients being admitted for renal failure with no serum creatinine or BUN being tested in previous 3 months – most were taking medicines acting on the Renin Angiotensin System.
- 22% of patients being admitted for seizure whilst on anticonvulsants with no therapeutic monitoring in last 6 months.
- 23% of patients being admitted for Asthma or COPD with most using only a bronchodilator and no maintenance therapy.
- 31% of patients being admitted for faecal impaction with most taking highly anticholinergic agents, multiple anti-cholinergic agents or opioids.