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Remi, Constanze; Bauer, Dominik; Krumm, Lisa and Bausewein, Claudia (2021): Drug-Related Problems on a Palliative Care Unit. In: Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, Vol. 35, No. 4: pp. 264-272

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Pharmacotherapy is essential in palliative medicine. Besides potential benefits, pharmacotherapy also poses potential risks that need to be minimized for patient safety. Pharmacists can play an important role in identifying, solving, and avoiding drug-related problems (DRPs). The aim of this study was to evaluate pharmaceutical interventions on safety of drug therapy in patients in an inpatient palliative care unit. All patients admitted to a palliative care unit over a 12-month period were screened for eligibility (ie, life expectancy >4 weeks). To identify and assess DRPs, patients' pharmacotherapy was evaluated by a pharmacist according to various aspects (eg, drug selection, dose selection, or treatment duration according to the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe classification for DRPs). During the 12-month period, 41 patients were included. Patients received a median of 11 (range, 1-22) different drugs. Overall, 207 DRPs were documented (median 5 DRPs/patient). After recording a DRP, the pharmacist directly intervened 290 times in order to solve the DRP, which was successful in 181/207 (88%). Clinically relevant DRPs are common in palliative medicine. The systematic assessment can support therapy decisions. This can result in optimized drug therapy, subsequently having a positive effect on symptom control and quality of life.

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