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CMAJ. 1996 Apr 15;154(8):1177-84.

Do too many cooks spoil the broth? Multiple physician involvement in medical management of elderly patients and potentially inappropriate drug combinations.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Que. robyn@benzo.epidrug.mcgill.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine (a) whether the risk of a potentially inappropriate drug combination (PIDC) increases with the number of physicians involved in the medical management of an elderly patient and (b) whether the risk of a PIDC is reduced if a patient has a single primary care physician or a single dispensing pharmacy, or both.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional retrospective provincial database study.

PARTICIPANTS:

A regionally stratified random sample of 51,587 elderly medicare registrants in Quebec who (a) visited at least one physician in 1990, (b) were not living in a health care institution for the entire year and (c) had been dispensed at least one prescription for a cardiovascular drug, a psychotropic drug or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Information on all physician visits and drugs dispensed during 1990. Physician claims were used to identify the number of physicians involved in a patient's management and whether the patient had one primary care physician. Prescription claims were used to identify the number of PIDCs, prescribing physicians and dispensing pharmacies.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of PIDCs ranged from 4.0% (among those in the NSAID group) to 20.3% (among those in the psychotropic drug group). Of the PIDCs identified, 17.6% to 25.8% resulted from contemporaneous prescribing by different physicians. The number of prescribing physicians was the most important risk factor for a PIDC in all drug groups (odds ratio [OR] 1.44 to 1.71). The presence of a single primary care physician lowered the risk for cardiovascular and psychotropic PIDCs (OR 0.70 and 0.79 respectively) but not for NSAID PIDCs (OR 0.94). The use of a single dispensing pharmacy lowered the risk of a PIDC in all drug groups (OR 0.68 to 0.79).

CONCLUSION:

The greater the number of physicians prescribing medications for an elderly patient, the greater is the risk that the patient will receive a PIDC. A single primary care physician and a single dispensing pharmacy may be "protective" factors in preventing PIDCs.

PMID:
8612253
PMCID:
PMC1487649
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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