Immediate or deferred adjustment of drug regimens in multidose drug dispensing systems

Bram J. Mertens, Henk-Frans Kwint, Rob J. van Marum, Marcel L. Bouvy

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Multidose drug dispensing (MDD) is used to help patients take their medicines appropriately. Little is known about drug regimen changes within these MDD systems and how they are effectuated by the community pharmacist. Manual immediate adjustments of the MDD system could introduce dispensing errors. MDD guidelines therefore recommend to effectuate drug regimen changes at the start of a new MDD system. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency, type, procedure followed, immediate necessity, and time taken to make MDD adjustments. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in eight community pharmacies in the Netherlands. All adjustments to MDD systems were systematically documented for 3 weeks by the community pharmacist. Results: Overall, 261 MDD adjustments involving 364 drug changes were documented for 250 patients: 127 (35%) drug changes involved the addition of a new drug, 124 (34%) a change in dosage, and 95 (26%) drug discontinuation. Of the MDD adjustments, 135 (52%) were effectuated immediately: 81 (31%) by adjusting the MDD system manually, 49 (19%) by temporarily dispensing the drug separately from the MDD system, and 5 (2%) by ordering a new MDD system. Pharmacists considered that 36 (27%) of the immediate MDD adjustments could have been deferred until the next MDD system was produced. Immediate adjustment took significantly longer than deferred adjustment (p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study shows that in patients using MDD systems, over half of the drug regimen changes are adjusted immediately. The necessity of these immediate changes should be critically evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-309
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number3
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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