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1.  What Are Priorities for Deprescribing for Elderly Patients? Capturing the Voice of Practitioners: A Modified Delphi Process 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122246.
Polypharmacy and inappropriate medication use among older adults contribute to adverse drug reactions, falls, cognitive impairment, noncompliance, hospitalization and mortality. While deprescribing - tapering, reducing or stopping a medication - is feasible and relatively safe, clinicians find it difficult to carry out. Deprescribing guidelines would facilitate this process. The aim of this paper is to identify and prioritize medication classes where evidence-based deprescribing guidelines would be of benefit to clinicians. A modified Delphi approach included a literature review to identify potentially inappropriate medications for the elderly, an expert panel to develop survey content and three survey rounds to seek consensus on priorities. Panel participants included three pharmacists, two family physicians and one social scientist. Sixty-five Canadian geriatrics experts (36 pharmacists, 19 physicians and 10 nurse practitioners) participated in the survey. Twenty-nine drugs/drug classes were included in the first survey with 14 reaching the required (≥ 70%) level of consensus, and 2 new drug classes added from qualitative comments. Fifty-three participants completed round two, and 47 participants completed round three. The final five priorities were benzodiazepines, atypical antipsychotics, statins, tricyclic antidepressants, and proton pump inhibitors; nine other drug classes were also identified as being in need of evidence-based deprescribing guidelines. The Delphi consensus process identified five priority drug classes for which expert clinicians felt guidance is needed for deprescribing. The classes of drugs that emerged strongly from the rankings dealt with mental health, cardiovascular, gastroenterological, and neurological conditions. The results suggest that deprescribing and overtreatment occurs through the full spectrum of primary care, and that evidence-based deprescribing guidelines are a priority in the care of the elderly.
PMCID: PMC4388504  PMID: 25849568
2.  A pilot randomized controlled trial of deprescribing 
Polypharmacy and adverse drug reactions are frequent and important among older people. Few clinical trials have evaluated systematic withdrawal of medications among older people. This small, open, study was conducted to determine the feasibility of a randomized controlled deprescribing trial.
Ten volunteers living in the community (recruited by media advertising) and 25 volunteers living in residential aged-care facilities (RCFs) were randomized to intervention or control groups. The intervention was gradual withdrawal of one target medication. The primary outcome was the number of intervention participants in whom medication withdrawal could be achieved. Other outcomes measures were quality of life, medication adherence, sleep quality, and cognitive impairment.
Participants were aged 80 ± 11 years and were taking 9 ± 2 medications. Fifteen participants commenced medication withdrawal and all ceased or reduced the dose of their target medication. Two subjects withdrew; one was referred for clinical review, and one participant declined further dose reductions.
A randomized controlled trial of deprescribing was acceptable to participants. Recruitment in RCFs is feasible. Definitive trials of deprescribing are required.
PMCID: PMC4110808  PMID: 25083200
ageing; deprescribing; polypharmacy prescriptions; treatment withdrawal
3.  Developmental evaluation as a strategy to enhance the uptake and use of deprescribing guidelines: protocol for a multiple case study 
The use of developmental evaluation is increasing as a method for conducting implementation research. This paper describes the use of developmental evaluation to enhance an ongoing study. The study develops and implements evidence-based clinical guidelines for deprescribing medications in primary care and long-term care settings. A unique feature of our approach is our use of a rapid analytical technique.
The team will carry out two separate analytical processes: first, a rapid analytical process to provide timely feedback to the guideline development and implementation teams, followed by a meta-evaluation and second, a comprehensive qualitative analysis of data after the implementation of each guideline and a final cross-case analysis. Data will be gathered through interviews, through observational techniques leading to the creation of field notes and narrative reports, and through assembling team documents such as meeting minutes. Transcripts and documents will be anonymized and organized in NVIVO by case, by sector (primary care or long-term care), and by implementation site. A narrative case report, directed coding, and open coding steps will be followed. Clustering and theming will generate a model or action map reflecting the functioning of the participating social environments.
In this study, we will develop three deprescribing guidelines and will implement them in six sites (three family health teams and three long-term care homes), in a sequential iterative manner encompassing 18 implementation efforts. The processes of 11 distinct teams within four conceptual categories will be examined: a guideline priority-setting group, a guideline development methods committee, 3 guideline development teams, and 6 guideline implementation teams. Our methods will reveal the processes used to develop and implement the guidelines, the role and contribution of developmental evaluation in strengthening these processes, and the experience of six sites in implementing new evidence-based clinical guidelines. This research will generate new knowledge about team processes and the uptake and use of deprescribing guidelines in family health teams and long-term care homes, with a goal of addressing polypharmacy in Canada. Clinicians and researchers creating clinical guidelines to introduce improvements into daily practice may benefit from our developmental evaluation approach.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0279-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4470007  PMID: 26084798
Polypharmacy; Overtreatment; Deprescribing; Developmental evaluation; Evidence-based guidelines
4.  Qualitative insights into general practitioners views on polypharmacy 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:65.
Polypharmacy is common among older people. The purpose of this study is to describe GPs' views and beliefs on polypharmacy in order to identify the role of the GP in relation to improving prescribing behaviour. The awareness of these often established beliefs is key for understanding behaviour and promoting change which can guide action towards more rational prescribing.
A qualitative descriptive methodology was used with semi-structured interviews. Interviews were conducted with 65 GPs from the region of Aalst, a district of a mixed urban and rural population in Belgium. The aim of the study was to describe the GPs' perspectives on polypharmacy in primary care.
GPs acknowledge that polypharmacy is a problem in their older patient population, especially because of the risk of adverse drug reactions, interactions and lowered adherence. GPs mention that difficulties in keeping an overview of the exact medication intake is an important problem caused by polypharmacy. The patients' strong belief in their medication and self-medication are seen as important barriers in reducing the number of drugs taken. Next to these patient related factors, there are some factors related to the prescriber, such as the lack of regular evaluation of the medication schedule by GPs and the involvement of several prescribers, especially in a hospital setting. According to the respondents, prevention and evidence based medicine guidelines often induce polypharmacy.
GPs point out that polypharmacy is an important problem in their older patient population. They see an important role for themselves in optimizing drug regimens for their patients. However, they do not have a readymade solution for polypharmacy. The limited set of options for addressing polypharmacy leave GPs feeling powerless to tackle the problem. There is a need for simple GP friendly tools and access to pharmacotherapeutic advice. Future research in this area and interventions seeking to improve prescribing for the elderly will have to focus on practical tools and take into account the GPs' sense of helplessness.
PMCID: PMC2945967  PMID: 20840795
5.  Deprescribing benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in community-dwelling adults: a scoping review 
Long-term sedative use is prevalent and associated with significant morbidity, including adverse events such as falls, cognitive impairment, and sedation. The development of dependence can pose significant challenges when discontinuation is attempted as withdrawal symptoms often develop. We conducted a scoping review to map and characterize the literature and determine opportunities for future research regarding deprescribing strategies for long-term benzodiazepine and Z-drug (zopiclone, zolpidem, and zaleplon) use in community-dwelling adults.
We searched PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, TRIP, and JBI Ovid databases and conducted a grey literature search. Articles discussing methods for deprescribing benzodiazepines or Z-drugs in community-dwelling adults were selected.
Following removal of duplicates, 2797 articles were reviewed for eligibility. Of these, 367 were retrieved for full-text assessment and 139 were subsequently included for review. Seventy-four (53 %) articles were original research, predominantly randomized controlled trials (n = 52 [37 %]), whereas 58 (42 %) were narrative reviews and seven (5 %) were guidelines. Amongst original studies, pharmacologic strategies were the most commonly studied intervention (n = 42 [57 %]). Additional deprescribing strategies included psychological therapies (n = 10 [14 %]), mixed interventions (n = 12 [16 %]), and others (n = 10 [14 %]). Behaviour change interventions were commonly combined and included enablement (n = 56 [76 %]), education (n = 36 [47 %]), and training (n = 29 [39 %]). Gradual dose reduction was frequently a component of studies, reviews, and guidelines, but methods varied widely.
Approaches proposed for deprescribing benzodiazepines and Z-drugs are numerous and heterogeneous. Current research in this area using methods such as randomized trials and meta-analyses may too narrowly encompass potential strategies available to target this phenomenon. Realist synthesis methods would be well suited to understand the mechanisms by which deprescribing interventions work and why they fail.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40360-015-0019-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4491204  PMID: 26141716
Benzodiazepines; Z-drugs; Deprescribing; Clinical pharmacology; Behaviour change wheel; Scoping review
6.  Too complex and time-consuming to fit in! Physicians' experiences of elderly patients and their participation in medical decision making: a grounded theory study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001063.
To explore physicians' thoughts and considerations of participation in medical decision making by hospitalised elderly patients.
A qualitative study using focus group interviews with physicians interpreted with grounded theory and completed with a questionnaire.
Setting and participants
The setting was three different hospitals in two counties in Sweden. Five focus groups were conducted with physicians (n=30) in medical departments, with experience of care of elderly patients.
Physicians expressed frustration at not being able to give good care to elderly patients with multimorbidity, including letting them participate in medical decision making. Two main categories were found: ‘being challenged’ by this patient group and ‘being a small part of the healthcare production machine’. Both categories were explained by the core category ‘lacking in time’. The reasons for the feeling of ‘being challenged’ were explained by the subcategories ‘having a feeling of incompetence’, ‘having to take relatives into consideration’ and ‘having to take cognitive decline into account’. The reasons for the feeling of ‘being a small part of the healthcare production machine’ were explained by the subcategories ‘at the mercy of routines’ and ‘inadequate remuneration system’, both of which do not favour elderly patients with multimorbidity.
Physicians find that elderly patients with multimorbidity lead to frustration by giving them a feeling of professional inadequacy, as they are unable to prioritise this common and rapidly growing patient group and enable them to participate in medical decision making. The reason for this feeling is explained by lack of time, competence, holistic view, appropriate routines and proper remuneration systems for treating these patients.
Article summary
Article focus
Physicians' views and attitudes to elderly patients' participation in medical decision making.
Key messages
Hospital care is not well adapted to elderly patients with multimorbidity as they are a highly complex patient group to take care of.
Taking care of elderly patients with multimorbidity often frustrates physicians by giving them a feeling of professional inadequacy.
Remuneration systems do not allow for necessary time for communication among medical professionals and between physicians and patients or relatives. Neither do these systems support the necessary integration of care.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The scope of the study, to the authors' knowledge, has not been clearly documented in earlier studies and is important to bear in mind when planning for future healthcare, especially as there will be a growing proportion of frail elderly people.
Qualitative research limits generalization.
The study was performed in a Swedish context.
PMCID: PMC3367145  PMID: 22654092
7.  A tailored implementation intervention to implement recommendations addressing polypharmacy in multimorbid patients: study protocol of a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:420.
Multimorbid patients frequently receive complex medication regimens and are at higher risk for adverse drug reactions and hospitalisations. Managing patients with polypharmacy is demanding, because it requires coordination of multiple prescribers and intensive monitoring. Three evidence-based recommendations addressing polypharmacy in primary care are structured medication counselling, use of medication lists and medication reviews to avoid potentially inappropriate medication (PIM). Although promising to improve patient outcomes, these recommendations are not well implemented in German routine care. Implementation of guidelines is often hindered by specific “determinants of change”. “Tailored” interventions are designed to specifically address previously identified determinants. This study examines a tailored intervention tto implement the aforementioned recommendations into German primary care practices. This study is part of the European Tailored Interventions for Chronic Diseases project, which aims at contributing knowledge about the methods used for tailoring.
The study is designed as a cluster randomized controlled trial with primary care practices of general practitioners (GPs) who are organized in quality circles. Quality circles will be the unit of randomization with a 1:1 ratio. Follow-up time is 6 months. GPs and healthcare assistants in the intervention group will receive training on medication management. Each GP will create a tailored concept of how to implement the three recommendations into his/her practice. Evidence-based checklists for medication counselling and medication reviews will be provided for physicians. A tablet PC with an interactive educational tool and information leaflets will be provided for use by patients to inform about the necessity of continuous medication management. Control practices will not receive special training and will provide care as usual. Primary outcome is the degree of implementation of the three recommendations, which will be measured using a prespecified set of indicators. Additionally, the PIM prescription rate, patient activation, patients’ beliefs about medicine, medication adherence and patients’ social support will be measured.
This study will contribute knowledge about the feasibility of implementing recommendations for managing patients with polypharmacy in primary care practices. Additionally, this study will contribute knowledge about methods for tailoring of implementation interventions.
Trial registration ISRCTN34664024
PMCID: PMC4234123  PMID: 24308282
Guideline; Implementation; Knowledge transfer; Polypharmacy; Primary care; Tailored intervention
8.  General practitioners’ views on polypharmacy and its consequences for patient health care 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:119.
Multimorbidity is defined as suffering from coexistent chronic conditions. Multimorbid patients demand highly complex patient-centered care which often includes polypharmacy, taking an average of six different drugs per day. Adverse drug reactions, adverse drug events and medication errors are all potential consequences of polypharmacy. Our study aims to detect the status quo of the health care situation in Saxony’s general practices for multimorbid patients receiving multiple medications. We will identify the most common clinical profiles as well as documented adverse drug events and reactions that occur during the treatment of patients receiving multiple medications. We will focus on exploring the motives of general practitioners for the prescription of selected drugs in individual cases where there is evidence of potential drug-drug-interactions and potentially inappropriate medications in elderly patients. Furthermore, the study will explore general practitioners’ opinions on delegation of skills to other health professions to support medical care and monitoring of patients receiving multiple medications.
This is a retrospective cross sectional study using mixed methods. Socio-demographic data as well as diagnoses, medication regimens and clinically important events will be analyzed retrospectively using general practitioners documentation in patients’ records. Based on these data, short vignettes will be generated and discussed by general practitioners in qualitative telephone interviews.
To be able to improve outpatient health care management for patients receiving multiple medications, the current status quo of care, risk factors for deficient treatment and characteristics of concerned patients must be investigated. Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the physicians’ decision making process regarding treatment.
PMCID: PMC3751821  PMID: 23947640
Polypharmacy; Multimorbidity; General practitioner; Health services research
9.  Polypharmacy Patterns: Unravelling Systematic Associations between Prescribed Medications 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84967.
The aim of this study was to demonstrate the existence of systematic associations in drug prescription that lead to the establishment of patterns of polypharmacy, and the clinical interpretation of the associations found in each pattern.
A cross-sectional study was conducted based on information obtained from electronic medical records and the primary care pharmacy database in 2008. An exploratory factor analysis of drug dispensing information regarding 79,089 adult patients was performed to identify the patterns of polypharmacy. The analysis was stratified by age and sex.
Seven patterns of polypharmacy were identified, which may be classified depending on the type of disease they are intended to treat: cardiovascular, depression-anxiety, acute respiratory infection (ARI), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), rhinitis-asthma, pain, and menopause. Some of these patterns revealed a clear clinical consistency and included drugs that are prescribed together for the same clinical indication (i.e., ARI and COPD patterns). Other patterns were more complex but also clinically consistent: in the cardiovascular pattern, drugs for the treatment of known risk factors—such as hypertension or dyslipidemia—were combined with other medications for the treatment of diabetes or established cardiovascular pathology (e.g., antiplatelet agents). Almost all of the patterns included drugs for preventing or treating potential side effects of other drugs in the same pattern.
The present study demonstrated the existence of non-random associations in drug prescription, resulting in patterns of polypharmacy that are sound from the pharmacological and clinical viewpoints and that exist in a significant proportion of the population. This finding necessitates future longitudinal studies to confirm some of the proposed causal associations. The information discovered would further the development and/or adaptation of clinical patient guidelines to patients with multimorbidity who are taking multiple drugs.
PMCID: PMC3869920  PMID: 24376858
10.  Optimizing polypharmacy among elderly hospital patients with chronic diseases—study protocol of the cluster randomized controlled POLITE-RCT trial 
Treatment of patients with multimorbidity is challenging. A rational reduction of long-term drugs can lead to decreased mortality, less acute hospital treatment, and a reduction of costs. Simplification of drug treatment schemes is also related to higher levels of patient satisfaction and adherence. The POLITE-RCT trial will test the effectiveness of an intervention aiming at reducing the number of prescribed long-term drugs among multimorbid and chronically ill patients. The intervention focuses on the interface between primary and secondary health care and includes a pharmacist-based, patient-centered medication review prior to the patient’s discharge from hospital.
The POLITE-RCT trial is a cluster randomized controlled trial. Two major secondary health care providers of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany, take part in the study. Clusters are wards of both medical centers. All wards where patients with chronic diseases and multimorbidity are regularly treated will be included. Patients aged 65+ years who take five or more prescribed long-term drugs and who are likely to spend at least 5 days in the participating hospitals will be recruited and included consecutively. Cluster-randomization takes place after a six-month baseline data collection period. Patients of the control group receive care as usual. The independent two main primary outcomes are (1) health-related quality of life (EQ-5D) and (2) the difference in the number of prescribed long-term pharmaceutical agents between intervention and control group. The secondary outcomes are appropriateness of prescribed medication (PRISCUS list, Beers Criteria, MAI), patient satisfaction (TSQM), patient empowerment (PEF-FB-9), patient autonomy (IADL), falls, re-hospitalization, and death. The points of measurement are at admission to (T0) and discharge from hospital (T1) as well as 6 and 12 months after discharge from the hospital (T2 and T3). In 42 wards, 1,626 patients will be recruited.
In case of positive evaluation, the proposed study will provide evidence for a sustainable reduction of polypharmacy by enhancing patient-centeredness and patient autonomy.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42003273
PMCID: PMC4192341  PMID: 25287853
Polypharmacy; Drug utilization review; Inappropriate prescribing; Patient-centered care; Secondary care; Primary health care
11.  Adoption of Clinical Decision Support in Multimorbidity: A Systematic Review 
JMIR Medical Informatics  2015;3(1):e4.
Patients with multiple conditions have complex needs and are increasing in number as populations age. This multimorbidity is one of the greatest challenges facing health care. Having more than 1 condition generates (1) interactions between pathologies, (2) duplication of tests, (3) difficulties in adhering to often conflicting clinical practice guidelines, (4) obstacles in the continuity of care, (5) confusing self-management information, and (6) medication errors. In this context, clinical decision support (CDS) systems need to be able to handle realistic complexity and minimize iatrogenic risks.
The aim of this review was to identify to what extent CDS is adopted in multimorbidity.
This review followed PRISMA guidance and adopted a multidisciplinary approach. Scopus and PubMed searches were performed by combining terms from 3 different thesauri containing synonyms for (1) multimorbidity and comorbidity, (2) polypharmacy, and (3) CDS. The relevant articles were identified by examining the titles and abstracts. The full text of selected/relevant articles was analyzed in-depth. For articles appropriate for this review, data were collected on clinical tasks, diseases, decision maker, methods, data input context, user interface considerations, and evaluation of effectiveness.
A total of 50 articles were selected for the full in-depth analysis and 20 studies were included in the final review. Medication (n=10) and clinical guidance (n=8) were the predominant clinical tasks. Four studies focused on merging concurrent clinical practice guidelines. A total of 17 articles reported their CDS systems were knowledge-based. Most articles reviewed considered patients’ clinical records (n=19), clinical practice guidelines (n=12), and clinicians’ knowledge (n=10) as contextual input data. The most frequent diseases mentioned were cardiovascular (n=9) and diabetes mellitus (n=5). In all, 12 articles mentioned generalist doctor(s) as the decision maker(s). For articles reviewed, there were no studies referring to the active involvement of the patient in the decision-making process or to patient self-management. None of the articles reviewed adopted mobile technologies. There were no rigorous evaluations of usability or effectiveness of the CDS systems reported.
This review shows that multimorbidity is underinvestigated in the informatics of supporting clinical decisions. CDS interventions that systematize clinical practice guidelines without considering the interactions of different conditions and care processes may lead to unhelpful or harmful clinical actions. To improve patient safety in multimorbidity, there is a need for more evidence about how both conditions and care processes interact. The data needed to build this evidence base exist in many electronic health record systems and are underused.
PMCID: PMC4318680  PMID: 25785897
decision support systems, management; systematic review; multiple chronic diseases; multiple pathologies; multiple medications
12.  Epidemiological strategies for adapting clinical practice guidelines to the needs of multimorbid patients 
Clinical practice guidelines have been developed to improve the quality of health care. However, adherence to current monomorbidity-focused, mono-disciplinary guidelines may result in undesirable effects for persons with several comorbidities, in adverse interactions between drugs and diseases, conflicting management strategies, and polypharmacy. This is why new types of guidelines that address the problem of interacting medical interventions and conditions in multimorbid patients are needed.
Previous research projects investigated patterns of multimorbidity and were able to identify combinations of the most prevalent chronic conditions, or clusters of comorbidities. These results represent potential methodological starting points for the development of guidelines that account for multimorbidity. The objective of these efforts is to identify frequent reasons for interactions and adverse events that may occur when the current type of guideline is rigorously applied in multimorbid patients.
The epidemiologic approaches described above may help guideline developers as a kind of check list of disease combinations that should systematically be considered during guideline development. Given the risk of worse outcomes in a huge group of vulnerable patients, researchers, guideline developers, and funding institutions should give first priority to the development of guidelines more appropriate for use in multimorbid persons.
PMCID: PMC3848618  PMID: 24041153
Clinical practice guideline; Multimorbidity; Chronic conditions
13.  Multimorbidity Patterns in the Elderly: A New Approach of Disease Clustering Identifies Complex Interrelations between Chronic Conditions 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15941.
Multimorbidity is a common problem in the elderly that is significantly associated with higher mortality, increased disability and functional decline. Information about interactions of chronic diseases can help to facilitate diagnosis, amend prevention and enhance the patients' quality of life. The aim of this study was to increase the knowledge of specific processes of multimorbidity in an unselected elderly population by identifying patterns of statistically significantly associated comorbidity.
Multimorbidity patterns were identified by exploratory tetrachoric factor analysis based on claims data of 63,104 males and 86,176 females in the age group 65+. Analyses were based on 46 diagnosis groups incorporating all ICD-10 diagnoses of chronic diseases with a prevalence ≥ 1%. Both genders were analyzed separately. Persons were assigned to multimorbidity patterns if they had at least three diagnosis groups with a factor loading of 0.25 on the corresponding pattern.
Three multimorbidity patterns were found: 1) cardiovascular/metabolic disorders [prevalence female: 30%; male: 39%], 2) anxiety/depression/somatoform disorders and pain [34%; 22%], and 3) neuropsychiatric disorders [6%; 0.8%]. The sampling adequacy was meritorious (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure: 0.85 and 0.84, respectively) and the factors explained a large part of the variance (cumulative percent: 78% and 75%, respectively). The patterns were largely age-dependent and overlapped in a sizeable part of the population. Altogether 50% of female and 48% of male persons were assigned to at least one of the three multimorbidity patterns.
This study shows that statistically significant co-occurrence of chronic diseases can be subsumed in three prevalent multimorbidity patterns if accounting for the fact that different multimorbidity patterns share some diagnosis groups, influence each other and overlap in a large part of the population. In recognizing the full complexity of multimorbidity we might improve our ability to predict needs and achieve possible benefits for elderly patients who suffer from multimorbidity.
PMCID: PMC3012106  PMID: 21209965
14.  A qualitative study of the attitudes of patients in an early intervention service towards antipsychotic long-acting injections 
The objective of this study was to investigate attitudinal themes to antipsychotic long-acting injections (LAIs) in patients in an early intervention team (EIT).
Interviews were carried out with outpatients purposively sampled from an EIT to represent patients currently prescribed antipsychotic LAIs, oral antipsychotics and those not prescribed antipsychotic medication. Interviews were conducted and analysed according to grounded theory. Recruitment stopped when saturation of themes was reached.
Interviews from 11 patients were analysed (median age 24 years). Attitudes to LAIs were condensed into three key categories: therapeutic alliance and the psychiatrists’ recommendation of antipsychotic medication; patients’ knowledge and beliefs about LAIs; and patients’ views regarding the appropriateness of LAIs. Participants valued their psychiatrist’s recommendation as to the most appropriate antipsychotic. Attitudes to LAIs varied but were most positive among those currently receiving a LAI. Among those not prescribed LAIs, some were open to considering a LAI if their clinician recommended it but others were opposed to such treatment and preferred tables. There was a lack of awareness of LAIs as a treatment option among those not prescribed a LAI. Delay in being offered a LAI was reported in the group currently prescribed a LAI. Several participants associated oral antipsychotics, LAIs and mental illness with stigma. Some not prescribed a LAI had misperceptions about the nature of this treatment. Participants regarded the advantages of LAIs as convenience and avoiding forgetting to take tablets, while disadvantages included injection pain, fear of needles and coercion.
Lack of knowledge, misperceptions and stigma related to LAIs and other treatment options should be addressed by providing patients with accurate information. This will facilitate patients being involved in choices about treatment, and should they decide to accept medication, which drug and formulation is most appropriate for their needs. Clinicians should avoid making assumptions about patients’ attitudes to LAIs; attitudes vary but some early intervention patients not prescribed LAIs are open to considering this treatment. Antipsychotic prescribing should result from a shared decision-making process in which clinicians and patients openly discuss the pros and cons of different formulations and drugs. The themes identified in this qualitative study require further exploration using quantitative methodology.
PMCID: PMC4212491  PMID: 25360242
adherence; antipsychotics; attitudes; depot; first-episode psychosis; long-acting injection; schizophrenia
15.  P24 - Geriatric Medicine: An Innovative Care Strategy in Orthopaedics and Traumatology 
For many years, the administration of the Careggi University Hospital (CUH), in agreement with the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Florence, has pressed for the creation of a department of general medicine within its othopaedic traumatology centre. In its decision n.243 of May 5, 2009, the administration of the CUH, along the lines of similar experiences already in place, set up a simple departmental unit (SDU) of geriatric medicine (GM) within the hospital’s department of orthopaedics.
The aim of this unit is to guarantee continuity of care to orthopaedics inpatients, through the identification of a specific care pathway for clinically unstable patients. The clinical activity carried out, mainly in the context of the provision of continuity of care, takes the form of daily consultancy. The SDU has a series of objectives, organisational (less postponement of surgery due to medical problems, better integration of healthcare through a multidisciplinary team, provision of internal medicine and geriatric consultancy to guarantee continuity of care), clinical (reduction of peri-operative medical complications and adverse events) and strategic (improvement of the quality of geriatric and internal medicine care, better communication with patients and families). The unit strives to exploit to the full the multi-professional (doctors, rehabilitation therapists, registered nurses, social workers) and interdisciplinary (internal medicine, geriatrics, orthopaedics, physical medicine, anaesthesiology, cardiology, angiology etc.) intervention and, in the fragile elderly, applies a multi-dimensional geriatric assessment instrument.
Clinical activity:
The physicians working in the GM SDU provide daily consultancy, including Saturday mornings. Constant telephone contact is available, also on Sundays and holidays.
In the period from 1/9/2009 to 31/7/2010, a total of 1867 consultancies were provided, spread over 268 days, which corresponds to a mean of 6.97 examinations/day. Of these, 652 (34.92%) were first visits and 1215 (65.08%) were follow ups. The assessments were always conducted in a spirit of multi-professional and multidisciplinary collaboration.
The assessments were carried out in the following departments: general orthopaedics II (25.98%), general orthopaedics I (21.26%), general orthopaedics III (18.26%), traumatology-orthopaedics (13.55%), orthopaedic oncology and reconstruction (11.25%) as well as, in smaller percentages, in all the other SDUs of the orthopaedics department, in the neurosurgery department, the plastic surgery department and the spinal unit.
In particular, internal and geriatric medicine consultancy for patients was requested in connection with high levels of co-morbidity, polypharmacy regimens, acute confusional state, dehydration, hydro-electrolytic disorders, uncompensated type 2 diabetes mellitus, pulmonary embolism, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, pneumonia and bronchitis causing respiratory insufficiency, decompensated congestive heart failure, targeted antibiotic therapy, chronic renal insufficiency, and management of anti-aggregant and anticoagulant therapies.
Positive aspects: the clinical assessments were made using a multidisciplinary approach, based on the fundamental collaboration of specialists in orthopaedics, anaesthesiology-resuscitation, angiology, cardiology, radiology and physical medicine; excellent collaboration with services (radiology, neuroradiology, angiology, cardiology, etc.).
Negative aspects: constant difficulties transferring clinically unstable patients to the hospital’s medical specialty SDUs due to lack of beds; lack of intermediate care beds as a sort of “buffer” between the intensive care and inpatient departments; scope for improving the internal medicine skills of the nursing staff.
Research projects:
In synergy the hospital’s other SDUs, the GM SDU takes part in projects aiming to improve care and clinical management. It currently has collaborations with the geriatrics clinic, regional centre of reference for haemostasis and thrombosis, the bone metabolism clinic, the orthopaedics clinics, the geriatrics agency, the radiology service, the continuity-of-care agency, the clinical management, and the general affairs unit. Furthermore, on the instigation of the regional health council, a working group has recently been set up on the reorganisation of the “Care pathway of elderly patients with proximal femur fracture (orthogeriatrics)”.
Prospects for implementation and improvement:
The aims of the “Project to reorganise and upgrade the orthopaedics and traumatology centre of the Careggi University Hospital” include: the institution of a medical geriatrics department providing medium and high intensity of care; the presence, 24 hours/day, of a specialist from the medical area in the traumatology open space; the involvement of the internal medicine specialist in pre-hospitalisation procedures.
PMCID: PMC3213796
16.  Rationalizing Prescribing for Older Patients with Multimorbidity: Considering Time to Benefit 
Drugs & aging  2013;30(9):655-666.
Given the growing number of older adults with multimorbidity who are prescribed multiple medications, clinicians need to prioritize which medications are most likely to benefit and least likely to harm an individual patient. The concept of time to benefit (TTB) is increasingly discussed in addition to other measures of drug effectiveness in order to understand and contextualize the benefits and harms of a therapy to an individual patient. However, how to glean this information from available evidence is not well established. The lack of such information for clinicians highlights a critical need in the design and reporting of clinical trials to provide information most relevant to decision making for older adults with multimorbidity. We define TTB as the time until a statistically significant benefit is observed in trials of people taking a therapy compared to a control group not taking the therapy. Similarly, time to harm (TTH) is the time until a significantly significant adverse effect is seen in a trial for the treatment group compared to the control group. To determine both TTB and TTH, it is critical that we also clearly define the benefit or harm under consideration. Well-defined benefits or harms are clinically meaningful, measurable outcomes that are desired (or shunned) by patients. In this conceptual review, we illustrate concepts of TTB in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Using published results, we estimate probable TTB for statins with the future goal of using such information to improve prescribing decisions for individual patients. Knowing the relative TTBs and TTHs associated with a patient’s medications could be immensely useful to a clinician in decision-making for their older patients with multimorbidity. We describe the challenges in defining and determining TTB and TTH, and discuss possible ways for analyzing and reporting trial results which would add more information about this aspect of drug effectiveness to the clinician’s evidence base.
PMCID: PMC3755031  PMID: 23749475
drug therapy; aged; time to benefit; polypharmacy; multiple chronic conditions; multimorbidity
17.  Barriers to accurate diagnosis and effective management of heart failure in primary care: qualitative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7382):196.
To ascertain the beliefs, current practices, and decision making of general practitioners in the diagnosis and management of suspected heart failure in primary care, with a view to identifying barriers to good care.
A qualitative approach using focus groups with 30 general practitioners from four primary care groups. The sampling strategy was stratified and purposive. The contents of interviews were transcribed and analysed according to the principles of “pragmatic variant” grounded theory.
North east England.
Three categories of difficulties contribute to variations in medical practice and to the reasons why general practitioners experience difficulties in diagnosing and managing heart failure. The first is uncertainty about clinical practice, including lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis and worries about using angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, β blockers, and spironolactone in patients who are often elderly and frail, with comorbidity and polypharmacy. The second is a lack of awareness of relevant research evidence in what was perceived to be a complex and rapidly changing therapeutic field. Doubts about the applicability of research findings in primary care, and fear of information overload also emerged. The third category consists of influences of individual preference and local organisational factors. Medical training, negative clinical experiences, and outside agencies influenced the behaviour of general practitioners and professional culture. Local factors included the availability of diagnostic services, resources (such as accessible cardiologists), and interactions between professionals in primary or secondary care, and they seemed to shape the practice and decision making processes in primary care.
The national service framework for coronary heart disease stresses that the substandard care of patients with heart failure is unacceptable. This study identified barriers to be overcome across primary and secondary care in implementation strategies that are specific to the locality and multifaceted. Single strategies—for example, the provision of guidelines—are unlikely to have an impact on clinical outcomes, and new, conjoint models of care need to be explored.
What is already known on this topicHeart failure is a common condition with a high morbidity and mortality and is largely managed in primary careAlthough modern management with accurate diagnosis and treatment improves prognosis considerably, unacceptable variations exist in the clinical application of current guidelines for heart failureWhat this study addsGeneral practitioners expressed a lack of confidence in establishing an accurate diagnosis of left ventricular systolic dysfunction, even if open access echocardiography was availableUncertainty about diagnosis led to poor uptake of evidence based treatment strategies for heart failure patients, and, despite awareness, reluctance to initiate modern treatmentLocal organisational factors around NHS provision of diagnostic services, resources, and interaction between primary and secondary care influence how general practitioners manage heart failureImplementation strategies for heart failure management across primary and secondary care are needed that are specific to their locality and multifaceted
PMCID: PMC140276  PMID: 12543836
18.  Prescription pattern and prevalence of potentially inappropriate medications among elderly patients in a Nigerian rural tertiary hospital 
Polypharmacy and inappropriate prescriptions are prominent prescribing issues with elderly patients. Beers criteria and other guidelines have been developed to assist in the reduction of potentially inappropriate medications prescribed to elderly patients. The objectives of this study were to assess the prescribing pattern for elderly Nigerian outpatients and estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medications among them using the Beers criteria.
This was a prospective cross-sectional study of elderly patients (65 years and above) who were attending the general outpatients clinic of a rural Nigerian hospital. For the drug utilization aspect of the study, drug-use indicators were assessed using established World Health Organization guidelines, while the Beers criteria was used to screen for potentially inappropriate medications.
The medical records of 220 patients aged 65 years and above were utilized for the study. A total of 837 drugs were prescribed for the patients, giving an average of 3.8 ± 1.3 drugs per person. Antihypertensive drugs accounted for 30.6% of the prescriptions, followed by multivitamins/food supplements (11.5%) and analgesics (10.8%). A review of the prescribed medications using the 2012 Updated Beers Criteria by the American Geriatric Society identified 56 patients with at least one potentially inappropriate medication prescribed giving a rate of 25.5%. The drug groups identified were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, and amitriptyline.
Polypharmacy and prescription of potentially inappropriate medications are major therapeutic issues in Nigeria. There is a need for prescriber training and retraining with emphasis on the geriatric population.
PMCID: PMC3601648  PMID: 23516122
drug utilization pattern; elderly patients; rational use of medicines; adverse drug reactions; Beers criteria
19.  The Ariadne principles: how to handle multimorbidity in primary care consultations 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:223.
Multimorbidity is a health issue mostly dealt with in primary care practice. As a result of their generalist and patient-centered approach, long-lasting relationships with patients, and responsibility for continuity and coordination of care, family physicians are particularly well placed to manage patients with multimorbidity. However, conflicts arising from the application of multiple disease oriented guidelines and the burden of diseases and treatments often make consultations challenging. To provide orientation in decision making in multimorbidity during primary care consultations, we developed guiding principles and named them after the Greek mythological figure Ariadne. For this purpose, we convened a two-day expert workshop accompanied by an international symposium in October 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. Against the background of the current state of knowledge presented and discussed at the symposium, 19 experts from North America, Europe, and Australia identified the key issues of concern in the management of multimorbidity in primary care in panel and small group sessions and agreed upon making use of formal and informal consensus methods. The proposed preliminary principles were refined during a multistage feedback process and discussed using a case example. The sharing of realistic treatment goals by physicians and patients is at the core of the Ariadne principles. These result from i) a thorough interaction assessment of the patient’s conditions, treatments, constitution, and context; ii) the prioritization of health problems that take into account the patient’s preferences – his or her most and least desired outcomes; and iii) individualized management realizes the best options of care in diagnostics, treatment, and prevention to achieve the goals. Goal attainment is followed-up in accordance with a re-assessment in planned visits. The occurrence of new or changed conditions, such as an increase in severity, or a changed context may trigger the (re-)start of the process. Further work is needed on the implementation of the formulated principles, but they were recognized and appreciated as important by family physicians and primary care researchers.
Please see related article:
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0223-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4259090  PMID: 25484244
Comorbidity; Decision making; General practice; Goal-oriented care; Multimorbidity; Patient-centered care; Patient care planning; Patient preference; Primary care
20.  The German MultiCare-study: Patterns of multimorbidity in primary health care – protocol of a prospective cohort study 
Multimorbidity is a highly frequent condition in older people, but well designed longitudinal studies on the impact of multimorbidity on patients and the health care system have been remarkably scarce in numbers until today. Little is known about the long term impact of multimorbidity on the patients' life expectancy, functional status and quality of life as well as health care utilization over time. As a consequence, there is little help for GPs in adjusting care for these patients, even though studies suggest that adhering to present clinical practice guidelines in the care of patients with multimorbidity may have adverse effects.
The study is designed as a multicentre prospective, observational cohort study of 3.050 patients aged 65 to 85 at baseline with at least three different diagnoses out of a list of 29 illnesses and syndromes. The patients will be recruited in approx. 120 to 150 GP surgeries in 8 study centres distributed across Germany. Information about the patients' morbidity will be collected mainly in GP interviews and from chart reviews. Functional status, resources/risk factors, health care utilization and additional morbidity data will be assessed in patient interviews, in which a multitude of well established standardized questionnaires and tests will be performed.
The main aim of the cohort study is to monitor the course of the illness process and to analyse for which reasons medical conditions are stable, deteriorating or only temporarily present. First, clusters of combinations of diseases/disorders (multimorbidity patterns) with a comparable impact (e.g. on quality of life and/or functional status) will be identified. Then the development of these clusters over time will be analysed, especially with regard to prognostic variables and the somatic, psychological and social consequences as well as the utilization of health care resources. The results will allow the development of an instrument for prediction of the deterioration of the illness process and point at possibilities of prevention. The practical consequences of the study results for primary care will be analysed in expert focus groups in order to develop strategies for the inclusion of the aspects of multimorbidity in primary care guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3224741  PMID: 19671164
21.  Patient Adherence to Tuberculosis Treatment: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Research 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(7):e238.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a major contributor to the global burden of disease and has received considerable attention in recent years, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where it is closely associated with HIV/AIDS. Poor adherence to treatment is common despite various interventions aimed at improving treatment completion. Lack of a comprehensive and holistic understanding of barriers to and facilitators of, treatment adherence is currently a major obstacle to finding effective solutions. The aim of this systematic review of qualitative studies was to understand the factors considered important by patients, caregivers and health care providers in contributing to TB medication adherence.
Methods and Findings
We searched 19 electronic databases (1966–February 2005) for qualitative studies on patients', caregivers', or health care providers' perceptions of adherence to preventive or curative TB treatment with the free text terms “Tuberculosis AND (adherence OR compliance OR concordance)”. We supplemented our search with citation searches and by consulting experts. For included studies, study quality was assessed using a predetermined checklist and data were extracted independently onto a standard form. We then followed Noblit and Hare's method of meta-ethnography to synthesize the findings, using both reciprocal translation and line-of-argument synthesis. We screened 7,814 citations and selected 44 articles that met the prespecified inclusion criteria. The synthesis offers an overview of qualitative evidence derived from these multiple international studies. We identified eight major themes across the studies: organisation of treatment and care; interpretations of illness and wellness; the financial burden of treatment; knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about treatment; law and immigration; personal characteristics and adherence behaviour; side effects; and family, community, and household support. Our interpretation of the themes across all studies produced a line-of-argument synthesis describing how four major factors interact to affect adherence to TB treatment: structural factors, including poverty and gender discrimination; the social context; health service factors; and personal factors. The findings of this study are limited by the quality and foci of the included studies.
Adherence to the long course of TB treatment is a complex, dynamic phenomenon with a wide range of factors impacting on treatment-taking behaviour. Patients' adherence to their medication regimens was influenced by the interaction of a number of these factors. The findings of our review could help inform the development of patient-centred interventions and of interventions to address structural barriers to treatment adherence.
From a systematic review of qualitative research, Munro and coauthors found that a range of interacting factors can lead to patients deciding not to complete their course of tuberculosis treatment.
Editors' Summary
Every year nearly nine million people develop tuberculosis—a contagious infection, usually of the lungs—and about two million people die from the disease. Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, bacteria that are spread in airborne droplets when people with active tuberculosis sneeze or cough. Tuberculosis can be cured by taking several strong antibiotics daily for at least six months but many patients fail to complete this treatment because the drugs have unpleasant side-effects and the treatment is complicated. In addition, people often feel better soon after starting treatment so they stop taking their tablets before all the bacteria in their body are dead. Poor treatment adherence (poor compliance) means that people remain infectious for longer and are more likely to relapse and die. It also contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant tuberculosis. To help people complete their treatment, the World Health Organization recommends a strategy known as DOTS (directly observed treatment, short course). As part of this strategy, a health worker or a tuberculosis treatment supporter—a person nominated by the health worker and the patient—watches the patient take his/her antibiotics.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although DOTS has contributed to improved tuberculosis control, better patient compliance is needed to halt the global tuberculosis epidemic. Treatment adherence is a complex behavioral issue and improving treatment outcomes for tuberculosis (and for other diseases) requires a full understanding of the factors that prevent people taking medicines correctly and those that help them complete their treatment. In this study, the researchers have done a systematic review (a study in which the medical literature is surveyed and appraised using defined methods to reach a consensus view on a specific question) of qualitative studies that asked patients, carers, and health workers which factors contributed to adherence to tuberculosis treatment. Qualitative studies collect non-quantitative data so, for example, a qualitative study on tuberculosis treatment might ask people how the treatment made them feel whereas a quantitative study might count bacteria in patient samples.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched electronic databases and reference lists for qualitative studies on adherence to tuberculosis treatments and also consulted experts on tuberculosis treatment. They carefully read the 44 published papers that met their predefined inclusion criteria and then used a method called “meta-ethnography” to compare the factors (themes) associated with good or bad adherence in the different studies and to synthesize (reach) a consensus view of which factors influence adherence to tuberculosis treatment. The researchers identified eight major factors associated with adherence to treatment. These included: health service factors such as the organization of treatment and care; social context (family, community and household influences); and the financial burden of treatment. Finally, the researchers interpreted the themes that emerged from the studies to build a simple model that proposes that adherence to tuberculosis treatment is influenced by four interacting sets of factors—structural factors (including poverty and gender discrimination), social context factors, health service factors, and personal factors (including attitudes towards treatment and illness).
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this systematic review of qualitative research on patient adherence to tuberculosis treatment are inevitably limited by the quality and scope of the original research. Consequently, further studies into patients' understanding of tuberculosis and its treatment are needed. Nevertheless, the findings and the model proposed by the researchers indicate that patients often take their tuberculosis medications under very difficult conditions and that they cannot control many of the factors that prevent them taking their drugs. So, although current efforts to improve adherence to tuberculosis treatments emphasize instilling a willingness to take their medications into patients, this systematic review suggests that more must be done to address how factors such as poverty and gender affect treatment adherence and to tailor support systems to patients' needs. Most importantly, it indicates that future interventions should involve patients more in the decisions made about their treatment.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus has an encyclopedia page on tuberculosis (in English and Spanish)
See the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease fact sheet on tuberculosis
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide a variety of fact sheets and other information resources on tuberculosis
World Health Organization has produced the 2007 Global Tuberculosis Control report (in English with key findings in French and Spanish), information on DOTS (in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Chinese), and A Guide for Tuberculosis Treatment Supporters
See the brief guide to systematic reviews, published by the British Medical Journal
PMCID: PMC1925126  PMID: 17676945
22.  Medication Adherence Behavior and Priorities Among Older Adults With CKD: A Semistructured Interview Study 
Older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) typically take more than five medications and have multiple prescribing physicians. Little however is known about how they prioritize their medical conditions or decide which medications to take.
Semistructured interviews (average length 40 minutes) with twenty community-dwelling adults with CKD stages 3-5D, receiving nephrology care at a tertiary referral center. Respondents were asked about medications, prescribing physicians, and medication-taking behaviors. We performed thematic analysis to explain patients’ decisions regarding medication prioritization, understanding, and adherence decisions.
Participants (age range, 55–84 years; mean, 72) took 5–14 prescribed medications, had 2–9 physicians, and 5–11 comorbid conditions. All had assigned implicit priorities to their medications. While the majority expressed the intention to be adherent, many regularly skipped medications they considered less important. Most identified the prescribing physician and indication for each medication, but there was often substantial discordance between beliefs about medications and conventional medical opinion. Respondents prioritized medications based on the salience of the particular condition, perceived effects of the treatment, and on the barriers (physical, logistic, or financial) to taking the prescribed drug. Side effects of medications were common and anxiety-provoking, but discussions with the prescribing physician were often delayed or unfulfilling for the patient.
Polypharmacy in CKD patients leads to complex medication choices and adherence behaviors in this population. Most of the patients we interviewed had beliefs or priorities that were non-concordant with conventional medical opinion, but patients rarely discussed these beliefs and priorities, or the resultant poor medication adherence, with their physicians. Further study is needed to provide quantitative data on the magnitude of adherence barriers. It is likely that more effective communication about medication taking could improve patients’ health outcomes and reduce potential adverse drug events.
PMCID: PMC2935303  PMID: 20674113
qualitative; chronic kidney disease; medication adherence; elderly
23.  Prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing and prescribing omissions in older Irish adults: findings from The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing study (TILDA) 
We sought to estimate the prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIP) and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) using a subset of the STOPP/START criteria in a population based sample of Irish adults aged ≥65 years using data from The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).
A subset of 26 PIP indicators and 10 PPO indicators from the STOPP/START criteria were applied to the TILDA dataset. PIP/PPO prevalence according to individual STOPP/START criteria and the overall prevalence of PIP/PPO were estimated. The relationship between PIP and PPOs and polypharmacy, age, gender and multimorbidity was examined using logistic regression.
The overall prevalence of PIP in the study population (n = 3,454) was 14.6 %. The most common examples of PIP identified were NSAID with moderate-severe hypertension (200 participants; 5.8 %) and aspirin with no history of coronary, cerebral, or peripheral vascular symptoms or occlusive event (112 participants; 3.2 %). The overall prevalence of PPOs was 30 % (n = 1,035). The most frequent PPO was antihypertensive therapy where systolic blood pressure consistently >160 mmHg (n = 341, 9.9 %), There was a significant association between PIP and PPO and polypharmacy when adjusting for age, sex and multimorbidity (adjusted OR 2.62, 95 % CI 2.05–3.33 for PIP and adjusted OR 1.46, 95 % CI 1.23–1.75 for prescribing omissions).
Our findings indicate prescribing omissions are twice as prevalent as PIP in the elderly using a subset of the STOPP/START criteria as an explicit process measure of potentially inappropriate prescribing and prescribing omissions. Polypharmacy was independently associated with both PPO and PIP. Application of such screening tools to prescribing decisions may reduce unnecessary medication, related adverse events, healthcare utilisation and cost.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00228-014-1651-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3978378  PMID: 24493365
Potentially inappropriate prescribing; Potential prescribing omissions; STOPP; START; Older people
24.  Pattern of psychotropic prescription in a tertiary care center: A critical analysis 
Indian Journal of Pharmacology  2013;45(3):270-273.
To study the prescription pattern of psychotropic drugs in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Eastern India with special reference to polypharmacy.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 411 patients were included in the study through systematic sampling. Patients were diagnosed by a Consultant Psychiatrist before inclusion in the study using a semi-structured interview schedule based on the International Classification of Disease (ICD), classification of mental and behavioral disorders, 10th version). The most recently prescribed psychopharmacological medication of those patients was studied. A checklist to assess the pattern of prescription and evaluate reasons of polypharmacy was filled up by the prescribing consultant.
About 76.6% of the patients received polypharmacy in the index study. Males were more exposed to polypharmacy compared to women (80.93% vs. 70.85%). Gender and diagnosis had a predictive value with regard to the polypharmacy. Polypharmacy was more common in organic mental disorders (F0), psychoactive substance abuse disorders (F1), psychotic disorders (F2), mood disorders (F3) and in childhood, and adolescent mental disorders (F9). Most frequently, antipsychotic drugs were prescribed followed by tranquilizers/hypnotics and anticholinergics. Antidepressants (35.13%) were more commonly prescribed as monotherapy. Anticholinergics (100%) and tranquilizers/hypnotics (96.7%) were the drugs more commonly used in combination with other psychotropics. The three most common reasons for prescribing polypharmacy were augmentation (43.8%) of primary drug followed by its use to prevent adverse effects of primary drug (39.6%) and to treat comorbidity (34.9%).
Polypharmacy is a common practice despite the research based guidelines suggest otherwise. More vigorous research is needed to address this sensitive issue.
PMCID: PMC3696299  PMID: 23833371
Polypharmacy; prescription patterns; psychotropics
25.  Guidelines for the emergency management of asthma in adults. CAEP/CTS Asthma Advisory Committee. Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and the Canadian Thoracic Society. 
OBJECTIVE: To develop a set of comprehensive, standardized evidence-based guidelines for the assessment and treatment of acute asthma in adults in the emergency setting. OPTIONS: The use of medications was evaluated by class, dose, route, onset of action and optimal mode of delivery. The use of objective measurements and clinical features to assess response to therapy were evaluated in relation to the decision to admit or discharge the patient or arrange for follow-up care. OUTCOMES: Control of symptoms and disease reflected in hospital admission rates, frequency of treatment failures following discharge, resolution of symptoms and improvement of spirometric test results. EVIDENCE: Previous guidelines, articles retrieved through a search of MEDLINE, emergency medical abstracts and information from members of the expert panel were reviewed by members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) and the Canadian Thoracic Society. Where evidence was not available, consensus was reached by the expert panel. The resulting guidelines were reviewed by members of the parent organizations. VALUES: The evidence-based methods and values of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination were used. BENEFITS, HARMS AND COSTS: As many as 80% of the approximate 400 deaths from asthma each year in Canada are felt to be preventable. The use of guidelines, aggressive emergency management and consistent use of available options at discharge are expected to decrease the rates of unnecessary hospital admissions and return visits to emergency departments because of treatment failures. Substantial decreases in costs are expected from the use of less expensive drugs, or drug delivery systems, fewer hospital admissions and earlier return to full activity after discharge. RECOMMENDATIONS: Beta2-agonists are the first-line therapy for the management of acute asthma in the emergency department (grade A recommendation). Bronchodilators should be administered by the inhaled route and titrated using objective and clinical measures of airflow limitation (grade A). Metered-dose inhalers are preferred to wet nebulizers, and a chamber (spacer device) is recommended for severe asthma (grade A). Anticholinergic therapy should be added to beta 2 agonist therapy in severe and life-threatening cases and may be considered in cases of mild to moderate asthma (grade A). Aminophylline is not recommended for use in the first 4 hours of therapy (grade A). Ketamine and succinylcholine are recommended for rapid sequence intubation in life-threatening cases (grade B). Adrenaline (administered subcutaneously or intravenously), salbutamol (administered intravenously) and anesthetics (inhaled) are recommended as alternatives to conventional therapy in unresponsive life-threatening cases (grade B). Severity of airflow limitation should be determined according to the forced expiratory volume at 1 second or the peak expiratory flow rate, or both, before and after treatment and at discharge (grade A). Consideration for discharge should be based on both spirometric test results and assessment of clinical risk factors for relapse (grade A). All patients should be considered candidates for systemic corticosteroid therapy at discharge (grade A). Those requiring corticosteroid therapy should be given 30 to 60 mg of prednisone orally (or equivalent) per day for 7 to 14 days; no tapering is required (grade A). Inhaled corticosteroids are an integral component of therapy and should be prescribed for all patients receiving oral corticosteroid therapy at discharge (grade A). Patients should be given a discharge treatment plan and clear instructions for follow-up care (grade C). VALIDATION: The guidelines share the same principles of those from the British Thoracic Society and the National Institutes of Health. Two specific validation initiatives have been undertaken: (a) several Canadian centres have been involved in the collection of comprehensive administrative data to assess compliance and outcome measures and (b) a survey of Canadian emergency physicians conducted to gather baseline informaton of treatment patterns, was conducted before development of the guidelines and will be repeated to re-evaluate emergency management of asthma.
PMCID: PMC1487869  PMID: 8673983

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