Last updated on February 2018

Reducing Post-discharge Adverse Drug Events Amongst the Elderly: a Multi-centre Electronic Deprescribing Intervention


Brief description of study

Reducing medications and associated side effects in older adults: an electronic hospital-based intervention

Detailed Study Description

Polypharmacy, or the concomitant use of 5 drugs or more, is a serious health concern and affects more than half of Canadians aged 65 years and older. It is the number one identifiable risk factor for adverse drug events (ADEs), which are responsible for 27,000 hospital admissions annually in Canada and up to 20% of return visits to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. Many ADEs are preventable or ameliorable through interventions to reduce inappropriate prescribing.

MedSafer, the intervention software, applies an electronic set of criteria, previously designed and piloted on one thousand (1000) hospitalized patients by a group of Quebec and Ontario internists, geriatricians, palliative care doctors and pharmacists, to identify potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in the hospitalized elderly and generate instructions for the patient and physician for safe discontinuation. The current study seeks to partially automate the deprescribing process and to demonstrate the efficacy of this type of intervention on adverse drug events at 30-days post hospital discharge.

At the time of hospitalization, the patient's medications, co-morbidities, and a measure of frailty will be entered into the MedSafer software which will output an individualized and prioritized deprescription plan for the most responsible physician's consideration. Any subsequent medication changes will be transmitted to relevant community physicians. The study will evaluate the impact of stopping PIMs on the occurrence of ADEs within 30 days of discharge, as compared to usual care.

This study will take place on the clinical teaching units (CTUs) at 11 hospitals from seven university hospital centres across Canada. Based on historical data, the investigators estimate a combined 5200 eligible patients per year with nearly 50% taking ten or more medications. Many will have multiple medical co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, and renal insufficiency. A large portion will meet criteria for geriatric syndromes such as frailty and will be at high risk for the development of delirium, falls and functional decline. This population is ideal for a generalizable deprescribing study.

All patients aged 65 or older who meet inclusion/exclusion criteria will be enrolled. A trained research assistant will identify eligible patients and medications will be screened using MedSafer. A deprescribing plan will be generated for the CTU team containing the rationale for suggested medication changes and strategies for safe and successful deprescription. The CTU team will then decide, in conjunction with the patient/proxy and relevant consultants, whether to apply the suggested modifications.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03272607

Contact Investigators or Research Sites near you

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Johanna Murphy, MD

Kingston General Hospital
Kingston, ON Canada
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Emily G McDonald, MD, MSc

McGill University Health Centre
Montreal, QC Canada
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Recruitment Status: Open


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