Drug morbidity in half of patients

Healthcare professionals say that half of patients have drug-related morbidity, according to two new studies from the Nordic School of Public Health NHV, based on research in Sweden. Researchers found that 51 percent of all patients outside of hospitals and 54 percent of all hospitalized patients experience drug-related morbidity, physicians said, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Pharmacists reported higher estimates, saying it affects up to 61 percent of all patients, according to a study in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

Of all of those, healthcare professionals said a quarter to 45 percent of drug-related morbidity is preventable.

In addition to safety risks, drug morbidity also has cost repercussions. The estimated cost of illness of drug-related morbidity is 838 euros (about $1,088) per inpatient and 376 euros (about $488) per outpatient, according to physicians.

With every other patient affected by drug-related morbidity that can lead to new medical problems including adverse drug reactions, drug dependence and intoxication by overdose, the studies could suggest the need for follow-up in medication reconciliation and adherence once patients leave the hospital.

One way to emphasize that is coordinated and team-based care. For example, the Partnership for Patients program stresses the role of pharmacy to actively work with multiple providers inside the hospital and out, which in turn, could curb readmissions.

For more information:
- read the research announcement
- see the study on the use of expert panels of pharmacists and the study on physicians

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