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Quality evidence to inform patient safety and prescribing quality

21 March 2017

The prescribing of certain inappropriate medications by healthcare professionals is associated with a high risk of adverse drug events in older people in Ireland. In addition, the omission of some recommended medications from prescriptions is also linked with an increased risk of having to visit to an accident and emergency department.

This is according to new research from the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) Department of General Practice and the HRB (Health Research Board) Centre for Primary Care Research which are the first two prospective studies in the primary care setting that examine the effect of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) on outcomes for older peopl

According to Dr Mairead O'Driscoll, Interim CEO at the HRB,

‘Given our ageing population, these studies provide valuable evidence that will lead to better patient care and help reduce pressure on acute services in the future’.

The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications was associated with a 29% higher rate of adverse drug events in the older people studied. The type of events reported in the research were mainly mild, such as easy bruising, difficulty stopping bleeding from a small cut, heartburn, and dizziness, while there were a few relatively severe events  that led to the hospitalisation of the patient.

The studies also found that healthcare use is higher among people who are taking more than one type of inappropriate medication, as well as those not being prescribed a potentially beneficial medicine. This was linked to an increase of approximately 15% in the rate of GP visits and of approximately 40% for accident and emergency department visits.

More information is available in the RCSI press release at the first link below. Links to both journal articles are also available underneath.

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