An intervention on discharge polypharmacy

David M. Smith, Mark R. Cox, Edward J. Brizendine, Siu L. Hui, Jay A. Freedman, Douglas K. Martin, Michael D. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine if providing a way to cancel pre-admission prescriptions would reduce the number of active drug prescriptions (RXs) at discharge. DESIGN: A randomized non-blinded clinical trial. SETTING: Inpatient acute medical service of a university-affiliated Veterans Administration medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Twelve medicine ward teams were randomized to control and intervention groups. Patients enrolled had been discharged from these teams during 12 weeks and were receiving outpatient medications from this facility at hospital admission; control = 180, intervention = 168. INTERVENTION: At discharge, intervention teams used a computer-generated drug list to cancel or renew previous outpatient RXs or to prescribe new medications. Control teams could not cancel outpatient drugs and wrote all medications on individual prescriptions. MEASUREMENTS: The difference between admission and discharge RXs. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in patients' age, sex, race, Charlson Index (CI), or LOS between patient groups at discharge. The intervention group had fewer RXs on admission (5.4 vs 6.2, P < .05) and at discharge (8.3 vs 9.1, P < .04), but the increase from admission to discharge was not significantly different (2.9 vs 2.9, P = .87) from the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Providing a method for canceling preadmission medications did not reduce the number of RXs at discharge. Further research is needed to evaluate the appropriateness of the large increase in RXs from admission to discharge for patients in acute hospital settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-419
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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