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עמוד בית
Sat, 20.07.24

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July 2021
Sharon Tamir MA, Daniel Kurnik MD, Myriam Weyl Ben-Arush MD, and Sergey Postovsky MD

Background: Decisions on medication treatment in children dying from cancer are often complex and may result in polypharmacy and increased medication burden. There is no information on medication burden in pediatric cancer patients at the end of life (EOL).

Objectives: To characterize medication burden during the last hospitalization in children dying from cancer

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study based on medical records of 90 children who died from cancer in hospital between 01 January 2010 and 30 December 2018. Demographic and clinical information were collected for the last hospitalization. We compared medication burden (number of medication orders) at hospitalization and at time of death and examined whether changes in medication burden were associated with clinical and demographic parameters.

Results: Median medication burden was higher in leukemia/lymphoma patients (6 orders) compared to solid (4 orders) or CNS tumor patients (4 orders, P = 0.006). Overall, the median number of prescriptions per patient did not change until death (P = 0.42), while there was a significant reduction for some medication subgroups (chemotherapy [P = 0.035], steroids [P = 0.010]).Patients dying in the ICU (n=15) had a higher medication burden at death (6 orders) than patients dying on wards (3 orders, P = 0.001). There was a trend for a reduction in medication burden in patients with “Do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders (P = 0.055).

Conclusions: Polypharmacy is ubiquitous among pediatric oncology patients at EOL. Disease type and DNR status may affect medication burden and deprescribing during the last hospitalization.

May 2014
Yael Zenziper BPharm, Daniel Kurnik MD, Noa Markovits MD, Amitai Ziv MD MHA, Ari Shamiss MD MPA, Hillel Halkin MD and Ronen Loebstein MD

Background: Prescription errors are common in hospitalized patients and result in significant morbidity, mortality and costs. Electronic prescriptions with computerized physician order entry systems (CPOE) and integrated computerized decision support systems (CDSS providing online alerts) reduce prescription errors by approximately 50%. However, the introduction of CDSS is often met by opposition due to the flood of alerts, and most prescribers eventually ignore even crucial alerts (“alert fatigue”). 

Objectives: To describe the implementation and customization of a commercial CDSS (SafeRx®) for electronic prescribing in Internal Medicine departments at a tertiary care center, with the purpose of improving comprehensibility and substantially reducing the number of alerts to minimize alert fatigue. 

Methods: A multidisciplinary expert committee was authorized by the hospital administration to customize the CDSS according to the needs of six internal medicine departments at Sheba Medical Center. We assessed volume of prescriptions and alert types during the period February–August 2012 using the statistical functions provided by the CDSS. 

Results: A mean of 339 ± 13 patients per month per department received 11.2 ± 0.5 prescriptions per patient, 30.1% of which triggered one or more CDSS alerts, most commonly drug-drug interactions (43.2%) and dosing alerts (38.3%). The review committee silenced or modified 3981 alerts, enhancing comprehensibility, and providing dosing instructions adjusted to the patient’s renal function and recommendations for follow-up. 

Conclusions: The large volume of drug prescriptions in internal medicine departments is associated with a significant rate of potential prescription errors. To ensure its effectiveness and minimize alert fatigue, continuous customization of the CDSS to the specific needs of particular departments is required.

 

October 2013
N. Markovits, D. Kurnik, H. Halkin, L. Guranda, A. Cohen, .M. Katz, D. Olchovsky, H. Mayan and R. Loebstein
 Background: “Body packers” swallow multiple packets filled with illicit drugs, mainly cocaine, in order to smuggle them across international borders. In recent years, an increasing number of body packers have been hospitalized after their detention by the police upon arrival in Israel.

Objectives: To characterize the clinical features and outcomes of body packers hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series of body packers hospitalized between January 2010 and October 2012 in our medical center. Electronic medical records and imaging files were reviewed to extract clinical, laboratory and radiological data as well as details on medical treatments.

Results: We identified 23 body packers (mean age 38 ± 10 years), 20 of whom smuggled cocaine from South America. The number of packets transported ranged from 1 to 242 (median 42) and duration of hospitalization from 1 to 14 days (median 2). Two subjects required surgical intervention. All others were treated conservatively by polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution, laxatives, or watchful waiting. Ten patients underwent a urinary screen for illicit drugs, 7 of whom tested positive for cocaine and 2 for cannabinoids. Abdominal X-rays were performed in all patients at admission, and 14 had follow-up imaging, including abdominal CT scans without contrast media in 8.

Conclusions: The main treatment goals for body packers are the rapid excretion of drug packets and early detection of complications, i.e., drug intoxication and bowel obstruction. We suggest the use of a structured treatment approach for the in-hospital management of body packers.

November 2008
R. Loebstein et al

Background: Infections with blood-borne viruses are a major health problem among illicit drug users. There is little information about infection rates and risk factors for hepatitis virus B, C or the human immunodeficiency virus in drug users in Israel.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of HCV[1], HBV[2] and HIV[3] infections in a large cohort of drug users in Israel; to compare rates of HCV, HBV and HIV between injecting versus non-injecting drug users and between different origin countries; and to identify risk factors for HCV among illicit drug users.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional interviewer-administered questionnaire and serological screening for HCV, HBV and HIV in 1443 consecutive drug users diagnosed at the Israeli National Center for Diagnosis of Drug Addicts between January 2003 and December 2005.

Results: Fourteen (0.9%), 51 (3.5%) and 515 (35.7%) subjects tested positive for HIV, HBV and HCV, respectively. All three infections (HIV, HBV and HCV) were significantly more common among injecting drug users and immigrants from the former Soviet Union and other East European countries compared to native Israelis. Multivariate analysis showed that HCV infection was associated with age (> 40 years) (OR=2.06, 95% CI 1.40–3.03), immigration from East European countries and the former Soviet Union (OR=4.54, 95% CI 3.28–6.28), and injecting drug use (OR=16.44, 95% CI 10.79–25.05).

Conclusions: HIV, HBV and HCV prevalence among drug users in Israel is significantly lower than in North America and West Europe. Risk factors for HCV infection in this population include injecting drug use, older age, and immigration from the former Soviet Union.






[1] HCV = hepatitis C virus

[2] HBV = hepatitis B virus

[3] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus


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