Patients with high healthcare utilization are at increased risk of polypharmacy and drug interactions. This study investigated the changes in the number of medications, drug interactions and interaction severity in high frequency outpatients with polypharmacy at hospitals and clinics in Taiwan after home pharmaceutical care, to understand the effectiveness of interventions by pharmacists. This was a retrospective observational study. Cases with excessive polypharmacy (10+ drugs) were selected from the Pharmaceutical Care Practice System database of the Taiwan Pharmacist Association in 2017. After the home care intervention, the number of drug types used decreased 1.89-fold (p < 0.001), and the number of medications fell 61.6%. The incidence of drug interaction was 93.82%. In an average case, the incidence of drug interaction after the pharmacist intervention decreased 0.6-fold (p < 0.001). The drug most commonly causing interactions was aspirin, followed by diclofenac; also common were three used in diabetes, two psycholeptics and two beta blockers. Among 22 cases of severe drug interaction, seven resulted in increased risk of extrapyramidal symptoms and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. By analyzing the relationship between the side effects of individual drugs and the pharmacokinetic T-max, a sequential thermal zone model of adverse drug reactions can be established, the value of which could prompt physicians and pharmacists to intervene in order to prevent adverse events. It is concluded that home pharmaceutical care by pharmacists can significantly reduce the number of medications and interactions in patients with excessive polypharmacy and high healthcare utilization.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, v.16, n.12, 2208