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South Med J. 1995 May;88(5):534-8.

Reducing polypharmacy in extended care.

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Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN, USA.


In this 5-year prospective study, we determined the feasibility of reducing polypharmacy in a long-term care institution by a systematic review of the pharmacy records. At 6-month intervals, the computer printout of all medications prescribed to patients in a 550-bed institution was reviewed. After patients taking more than 10 different drugs were identified, their physician was notified and was asked to review their medications according to specific guidelines. The number of patients taking 10 or more medications was reduced from 67, when the program was started, to 9. The average number of medications per patient was reduced from 5.5 to 4.6. This program reduced the prevalence of polypharmacy and had long-lasting effects on the physicians' prescribing habits. We also believe it led to improved patient care by reducing the potential for drug interactions and to cost savings for the pharmacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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