A study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety involving more than 1,200 patients shows that risk from Medication-Related Harm (MRH) is predictable and therefore probably avoidable. MRH is sometimes caused by an Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR), which according to the study affects one in six patients. However, the data shows that over a third of all patients suffer from MRH following discharge from hospital. The report states;
Apart from causing harm to patients and significant distress to their families and carers, such MRH is associated with a significant cost to the NHS estimated at £396 million annually.
New Tool developed (PRIME) to Predict Risk of MRH
Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), working in collaboration with King’s College London, have developed a new tool to assess the likelihood of an older adult suffering from MRH at the point of hospital discharge. The PRIME tool includes eight routinely collected pieces of information relating to patients, including the following:
3. number of medicines taken,
4. taking antiplatelet and
5. diabetes medications,
6. sodium level,
7. previous adverse drug reaction, and
8. living alone.
Including these eight determinants in a mathematical formula/tool provided predictive information on whether an individual patient is likely to suffer MRH in the eight weeks period after leaving hospital.
Professor Chakravarthi Rajkumar, Chair of Geriatrics and Stroke Medicine at BSMS, and academic lead of the study said: “In our ageing population, the use of multiple medications is common. All too often patients can suffer harm from their medicines, rather than benefit from them. By identifying those most at risk of MRH, the PRIME tool can help general practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professionals to implement interventions to help minimise the risk of such harm.”