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עמוד בית
Wed, 10.08.22

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June 2022
Doron Garfinkel MD, and Yuval Levy MD

Background: There has been a rapid increase in vulnerable subpopulations of very old with co-morbidity, dementia, frailty, and limited life expectancy. Being treated by many specialists has led to an epidemic of inappropriate medication use and polypharmacy (IMUP) with negative medical and economic consequences. For most medications there are no evidence-based studies in older people and treatments are based on guidelines proven in much younger/healthier populations.

Objectives: To evaluate whether the benefits of reducing IMUP by poly-de-prescribing (PDP) outweighs the negative outcomes in older people with polypharmacy.

Methods: The Garfinkel method and algorithm were used in older people with polypharmacy (≥ 6 prescription drugs).

Results: We found that in nursing departments, of 331 drugs de-prescribed only 32 (10%) had to be re-administered. Annual mortality and severe complications requiring referral to acute care facility were significantly reduced in PDP (P < 0.002). In community dwelling older people, successful de-prescribing was achieved in 81% with no increase in adverse events or deaths. Those who de-prescribed ≥ 3 prescription drugs showed significantly more improvement in functional and cognitive status, sleep quality, appetite, serious complications, quality of life, and general satisfaction compared to controls who stopped ≤ 2 medications (P < 0.002). Rates of hospitalization and mortality were comparable. Clinical improvement by polydeprescribing was usually evident within 3 months and persisted for several years. The main barrier to polydeprescribing was physician’s unwillingness to deprescribe (P < 0.0001)

Conclusions: Applying the Garfinkel method of PDP may improve the lives of older people and save money.

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.

Renana Barak MD, Barliz Waissengrin MD, and Ido Wolf MD
October 2017
Rima Rappaport MD, Zeev Arinzon MD, Jacob Feldman MD, Shiloh Lotan MD, Rachel Heffez-Aizenfeld MD, and Yitshal Berner MD

Background: Medication reconciliation (MR) at hospital admission, transfer, and discharge has been designated as a required hospital practice to reduce adverse drug events.

Objectives: To perform MR among elderly patients admitted to the hospital and to determine factors that influence differences between the various lists of prescribed drugs as well as their actual consumption.

Methods: We studied patients aged 65 years and older who had been admitted to the hospital and were taking at least one prescription drug.

Results: The medication evaluation and recording was performed within 24 hours of admission (94%). The mean number of medications was 7.8 per patients, 86% consumed 5 or more medications. Mismatching between medication prescribed by a primary care physician (PCP) and by real medication use (RMU) was found in 82% of patients. In PCP the most common mismatched medications were cardiovascular drugs (39%) followed by those affecting the alimentary tract, metabolism (24%), and the nervous (12%) system. In RMU, the most commonly mismatched medications were those affecting the alimentary tract and metabolism (36%). Among all causes of mismatched medications, discrepancies in one drug were found in 67%, in two drugs in 21%, and in three drugs in 13%. The mismatching was more common in females (85%) than in males (46%, P = 0.042).

Conclusions: This study provided evidence in a small sample of patients on differences of drug prescription and their use on admission and on discharge from hospital. MR processes have a high potential to identify clinically important discrepancies for all patients.

April 2009
D. Antonelli, K. Suleiman and Y. Turgeman

Background: The incidence of cardiovascular disease increases with age, and visits by elderly patients to the outpatient cardiac clinic are becoming more frequent.

Objectives: To characterize cardiovascular pathologies of patients 70 years of age and over who visit the outpatient cardiac clinic.

Methods: We investigated cardiovascular pathologies, risk factors, and medications in new patients over a 2 month period.

Results: The study population comprised 290 patients: 139 (47.9%) were older than 70 years. Among the cardiovascular pathologies, aortic stenosis, angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, s/p coronary artery bypass graft, and stroke were more frequent in the elderly patients than in those under age 70. Among the risk factors for ischemic heart disease, only hypertension was more frequent in the elderly population, whereas fewer in this group were active smokers. The mean number of medications administered was 3.51 ± 1.63 among the elderly patients compared to 1.99 ± 1.71 among the younger ones (P = 0.0001). Beta-blockers were the most frequently used cardiovascular drugs both in the elderly (59.7%) and in the younger patients (43%) (P = 0.0046).

Conclusions: Patients over age 70 represent about half the visits in our outpatient clinic. Their multiple cardiovascular pathologies and therapeutic requirements raise the issue of developing the cardiology service to meet the special needs of geriatric patients.
 

June 2007
D. Garfinkel, S. Zur-Gil, J. Ben-Israel

Background: The extent of medical and financial problems of polypharmacy in the elderly is disturbing, particularly in nursing homes and nursing departments.

Objectives: To improve drug therapy and minimize drug intake in nursing departments.

Methods: We introduced a geriatric-palliative approach and methodology to combat the problem of polypharmacy. The study group comprised 119 disabled patients in six geriatric nursing departments, and the control group 71 patients of comparable age, gender and co-morbidities patients in the same wards. After 12 months, we assessed whether any change in medications affected the death rate, referrals to acute care facility and costs.

Results: A total of 332 different drugs were discontinued in 119 patients (average of 2.8 drugs per patient) and was not associated with significant adverse effects. The overall rate of drug discontinuation failure was 18% of all patients and 10% of all drugs. The 1 year mortality rate was 45% in the control group but only 21% in the study group (P < 0.001, chi-square test). The patients’ annual referral rate to acute care facilities was 30% in the control group but only 11.8% in the study group (P < 0.002). The intervention was associated with a substantial decrease in the cost of drugs.

Conclusions: Application of the geriatric-palliative methodology in the disabled elderly enables simultaneous discontinuation of several medications and yields a number of benefits: reduction in mortality rates and referrals to acute care facilities, lower costs, and improved quality of living.

 
 

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