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1.  Evaluation of a drug-drug interaction: fax alert intervention program 
Background
Clinicians often encounter information about drug-drug interactions (DDIs) during clinical practice. This information is found within product information (hardcopy and electronic) and various electronic systems. Prescribers may receive medication-related communications in practice that are distributed by facsimile (fax), mail, or telephone from pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The purpose of this study was to determine if near-real time fax alerts for potential drug-drug interactions (PDDIs) would influence prescribing.
Methods
A prospective study, in cooperation with a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), was conducted targeting 18 clinically important PDDIs. Fax alerts included an individualized letter to the prescriber with a list of the interacting drugs, PDDI evidence summaries with citations, and recommended clinical management strategies. Among the 18 PDDIs, 13 PDDIs could be assessed for prescription therapy changes using pharmacy claims data. A prospective cohort design was used to evaluate changes in prescription dispensing 90-days following a PDDI fax alert.
Results
A total of 8,075 fax alerts were sent to prescribers and there were 4,712 alerts for the 13 PDDIs that could be assessed for change using pharmacy claims data. There were 2,019 patients (interventions) for which fax alerts were sent to their prescribers who were matched with a control group consisting of patients with the same PDDIs but for whom no fax alert was sent. Overall, this study found 154 (7.6%) of patients in the fax alert group compared to 132 (6.5%) in the control group had changes in therapy (p = 0.177).
Conclusions
This fax alert intervention program observed no statistically significant differences in prescribing with a fax alert compared to the control group. If PBMs chose to send individualized, evidence-based information to clinicians regarding drug-drug interactions, this study suggests it may not be an effective intervention to mitigate harm.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-32
PMCID: PMC3598564  PMID: 23497373
Drug interactions; Drug safety; Physician; Prescriber; Fax
2.  Ability of pharmacy clinical decision-support software to alert users about clinically important drug–drug interactions 
Objective
Pharmacy clinical decision-support (CDS) software that contains drug–drug interaction (DDI) information may augment pharmacists' ability to detect clinically significant interactions. However, studies indicate these systems may miss some important interactions. The purpose of this study was to assess the performance of pharmacy CDS programs to detect clinically important DDIs.
Design
Researchers made on-site visits to 64 participating Arizona pharmacies between December 2008 and November 2009 to analyze the ability of pharmacy information systems and associated CDS to detect DDIs. Software evaluation was conducted to determine whether DDI alerts arose from prescription orders entered into the pharmacy computer systems for a standardized fictitious patient. The fictitious patient's orders consisted of 18 different medications including 19 drug pairs—13 of which were clinically significant DDIs, and six were non-interacting drug pairs.
Measurements
The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and percentage of correct responses were measured for each of the pharmacy CDS systems.
Results
Only 18 (28%) of the 64 pharmacies correctly identified eligible interactions and non-interactions. The median percentage of correct DDI responses was 89% (range 47–100%) for participating pharmacies. The median sensitivity to detect well-established interactions was 0.85 (range 0.23–1.0); median specificity was 1.0 (range 0.83–1.0); median positive predictive value was 1.0 (range 0.88–1.0); and median negative predictive value was 0.75 (range 0.38–1.0).
Conclusions
These study results indicate that many pharmacy clinical decision-support systems perform less than optimally with respect to identifying well-known, clinically relevant interactions. Comprehensive system improvements regarding the manner in which pharmacy information systems identify potential DDIs are warranted.
doi:10.1136/jamia.2010.007609
PMCID: PMC3005877  PMID: 21131607
3.  Healthcare Professional Students’ Knowledge of Drug-Drug Interactions 
Objectives. To evaluate changes in medical, pharmacy, and nurse practitioner students’ drug-drug interaction (DDI) knowledge after attending an educational program.
Design. A DDI knowledge assessment containing 15 different drug pairs was administered to participants before and after a 45-minute educational session.
Evaluation. Pharmacy, medical, and nursing students scored significantly higher on the posttest assessment for DDI recognition (median change 3, 9, and 8, respectively) and management strategy (median change 5, 9, 8, respectively), indicating a significant improvement in DDI knowledge as a result of the educational session. Pharmacy students scored significantly higher on the pretest; however, no difference was observed between the students’ posttest scores. Posttest scores for all student groups were significantly greater than their respective pretest scores (p < 0.001).
Conclusions. Significant improvement in healthcare professional students’ DDI knowledge was observed following participation in the educational session.
doi:10.5688/ajpe7510199
PMCID: PMC3279016  PMID: 22345718
drug-drug interaction; drug interaction knowledge; medical education; pharmacy education; nurse practitioner education
4.  Pharmacy Students’ Retention of Knowledge of Drug-Drug Interactions 
Objectives. To evaluate pharmacy students' drug-drug interaction (DDI) knowledge retention over 1 year and to determine whether presenting DDI vignettes increased knowledge retention.
Methods. A knowledge assessment tool was distributed to fourth-year pharmacy students before and after completing a DDI educational session. The questionnaire was re-administered after 1 year to assess knowledge retention. During the intervening year, students had the option of presenting DDI case vignettes to preceptors and other health professionals as part of their advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).
Results. Thirty-four of 78 pharmacy students completed both the post-intervention and 1-year follow-up assessments. Students’ knowledge of 4 DDI pairs improved, knowledge of 3 DDI pairs did not change, and knowledge of the remainder of DDI pairs decreased. Average scores of the 18 students who completed all tests and presented at least 1 vignette during their APPEs were higher on the 1-year follow-up assessment than students who did not, suggesting greater DDI knowledge retention (p = 0.04).
Conclusion. Although pharmacy students’ overall DDI knowledge decreased in the year following an educational session, those who presented vignettes to health professionals retained more DDI knowledge, particularly on those DDIs for which they gave presentations. Other methods to enhance pharmacy students’ retention of DDI knowledge of clinically important DDIs are needed.
doi:10.5688/ajpe756110
PMCID: PMC3175677  PMID: 21931448
drug-drug interaction; assessment

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