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J Clin Pharm Ther. 1995 Aug;20(4):199-205.

Continued prescribing of inappropriate drugs in general practice.

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Department of General Practice, United Medical School of Guy's Hospital, London, U.K.


Seven general practitioners used various methods to identify patients in their practices whom they had inherited and whose medication they regarded as inappropriate in the light of current knowledge. Information was collected in each case about the drug concerned, the patient, the original prescriber, and the reason for continued prescribing. Each patient was also interviewed. Altogether, 25 different drugs were prescribed for 40 patients: in 16 the inappropriate drug was one acting on the brain, in 13 an antihypertensive, in seven it was given for heart disease and in three, for asthma. The influence of the original prescriber, and the patient's dependence on the drug, helped to explain its continued use. Almost half the patients said that they might consider changing their medication. The study underlines the importance of reviewing long-term medication and offers a method of scrutinizing repeat prescribing in general practice. Community pharmacists could help in this process.

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