Many patients admitted to hospital for an operation will be taking medicines which affect, or are affected by, the drugs used during surgery or by the surgical procedure itself. There are few published data on which to base policy in this situation and doctors generally rely on their own experience. In a series of articles, we will review these issues. In this, our first article, we consider how the events surrounding surgery might affect prescribing and give examples of drugs that need to be stopped or continued. Future articles will cover peri-operative drug management in patients: with diabetes mellitus or taking corticosteroids; taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives; taking drugs for cardiovascular disease.
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