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      Potential drug-drug and drug-disease interactions in prescriptions for ambulatory patients over 50 years of age in family medicine clinics in Mexico City

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          In Mexico, inappropriate prescription of drugs with potential interactions causing serious risks to patient health has been little studied. Work in this area has focused mainly on hospitalized patients, with only specific drug combinations analyzed; moreover, the studies have not produced conclusive results. In the present study, we determined the frequency of potential drug-drug and drug-disease interactions in prescriptions for ambulatory patients over 50 years of age, who used Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) family medicine clinics. In addition, we aimed to identify the associated factors for these interactions.


          We collected information on general patient characteristics, medical histories, and medication (complete data). The study included 624 ambulatory patients over 50 years of age, with non-malignant pain syndrome, who made ambulatory visits to two IMSS family medicine clinics in Mexico City. The patients received 7-day prescriptions for non-opioid analgesics. The potential interactions were identified by using the Thompson Micromedex program. Data were analyzed using descriptive, bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses.


          The average number of prescribed drugs was 5.9 ± 2.5. About 80.0% of patients had prescriptions implying one or more potential drug-drug interactions and 3.8% of patients were prescribed drug combinations with interactions that should be avoided. Also, 64.0% of patients had prescriptions implying one or more potential drug disease interactions. The factors significantly associated with having one or more potential interactions included: taking 5 or more medicines (adjusted Odds Ratio (OR): 4.34, 95%CI: 2.76–6.83), patient age 60 years or older (adjusted OR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.01–2.74) and suffering from cardiovascular diseases (adjusted OR: 7.26, 95% CI: 4.61–11.44).


          The high frequency of prescription of drugs with potential drug interactions showed in this study suggests that it is common practice in primary care level. To lower the frequency of potential interactions it could be necessary to make a careful selection of therapeutic alternatives, and in cases without other options, patients should be continuously monitored to identify adverse events.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Recent Patterns of Medication Use in the Ambulatory Adult Population of the United States

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            Improving acceptance of computerized prescribing alerts in ambulatory care.

            Computerized drug prescribing alerts can improve patient safety, but are often overridden because of poor specificity and alert overload. Our objective was to improve clinician acceptance of drug alerts by designing a selective set of drug alerts for the ambulatory care setting and minimizing workflow disruptions by designating only critical to high-severity alerts to be interruptive to clinician workflow. The alerts were presented to clinicians using computerized prescribing within an electronic medical record in 31 Boston-area practices. There were 18,115 drug alerts generated during our six-month study period. Of these, 12,933 (71%) were noninterruptive and 5,182 (29%) interruptive. Of the 5,182 interruptive alerts, 67% were accepted. Reasons for overrides varied for each drug alert category and provided potentially useful information for future alert improvement. These data suggest that it is possible to design computerized prescribing decision support with high rates of alert recommendation acceptance by clinicians.
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              The medical office of the 21st century (MOXXI): effectiveness of computerized decision-making support in reducing inappropriate prescribing in primary care.

              Adverse drug-related events are common in the elderly, and inappropriate prescribing is a preventable risk factor. Our objective was to determine whether inappropriate prescribing could be reduced when primary care physicians had computer-based access to information on all prescriptions dispensed and automated alerts for potential prescribing problems. We randomly assigned 107 primary care physicians with at least 100 patients aged 66 years and older (total 12 560) to a group receiving computerized decision-making support (CDS) or a control group. Physicians in the CDS group had access to information on current and past prescriptions through a dedicated computer link to the provincial seniors' drug-insurance program. When any of 159 clinically relevant prescribing problems were identified by the CDS software, the physician received an alert that identified the nature of the problem, possible consequences and alternative therapy. The rate of initiation and discontinuation of potentially inappropriate prescriptions was assessed over a 13-month period. In the 2 months before the study, 31.8% of the patients in the CDS group and 33.3% of those in the control group had at least 1 potentially inappropriate prescription. During the study the number of new potentially inappropriate prescriptions per 1000 visits was significantly lower (18%) in the CDS group than in the control group (relative rate [RR] 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69-0.98), but differences between the groups in the rate of discontinuation of potentially inappropriate prescriptions were significant only for therapeutic duplication by the study physician and another physician (RR 1.66, 95% CI 0.99-2.79) and drug interactions caused by prescriptions written by the study physician (RR 2.15, 95% CI 0.98-4.70). Computer-based access to complete drug profiles and alerts about potential prescribing problems reduces the rate of initiation of potentially inappropriate prescriptions but has a more selective effect on the discontinuation of such prescriptions.

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central
                19 September 2007
                : 7
                : 147
                [1 ]Epidemiology and Health Services Research Unit. National Medical Center Century XXI, Mexican Institute of Social Security, Mexico City, Mexico
                Copyright © 2007 Doubova (Dubova) et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Health & Social care


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