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Increasing trend in hospitalisation due to adverse drug reactions: can we stem the tide?

Abstract

Living with multiple long-term health conditions (multimorbidity) is increasingly common in older age. The more long-term conditions that an individual has, the more medicines they are likely to take. Hospitalisation as a consequence of medication-related harm is increasing and a concerted effort is needed to reduce the burden of harm caused by medication. However, making decisions about the balance between benefit and harm for an older person with multimorbidity and polypharmacy is very complex. There are various clinical tools that can help to identify patients at higher risk of harm and numerous strategies, including medicines optimisation reviews that incorporate personalised health information, to try to reduce risk. Further education and training of the healthcare professionals is needed to equip the multidisciplinary workforce with the skills and knowledge to address these challenges. This article discusses some of the changes that can be implemented now and highlights areas that will require more research before they can be introduced, in order to help patients to get the best out of their medicines.

  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Drug interactions
  • Polypharmacy
  • Therapeutics

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