Pharmacists’ interventions on intravenous to oral conversion for potassium
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Background Guidelines recommend use of the oral route whenever possible to treat or prevent hypokalemia. Although a myriad of papers have been published regarding intravenous to oral (IV to PO) therapy conversion programs and about clinical pharmacy services provided in hospitals, little is known on the role of hospital pharmacists in promoting the oral route for potassium administration. Objective The aim of this work was to describe the frequency of interventions related to IV to PO potassium therapy conversions performed by hospital pharmacists. Setting French hospitals recording pharmacist’s interventions on the website tool of the French Society of Clinical Pharmacy. Methods From the pharmacist’s interventions (PI) dataset recorded we extracted all interventions related to potassium IV to PO conversion. We assessed the acceptance rate of these PI by prescribers. Additional free text information in the dataset was analysed. Main outcome measures IV to PO potassium therapy conversions related to potassium chloride. Results From January 2007 to December 2010, 87 hospitals recorded 1,868 PIs concerning IV to PO therapy conversion. Among these, 16 (<1 %) concerned potassium chloride. They were recorded by four hospitals (4.6 %) with respectively 12, 2, 1 and 1 PIs. Six PIs were accepted by physicians and the prescriptions were modified. Conclusion PIs to promote the administration of potassium by the oral route are extremely rare. Our results and scarce previously published data reveal that this field of practice remains almost unexplored. These findings highlight an important gap in the field of intravenous to oral therapy programs. This situation must be regarded as unsatisfactory and should lead to setting up more education and research programs.
KeywordsConversion Interventions Intravenous administration Oral administration Pharmacist Potassium chloride
We thank Dr Alison Foote of the Grenoble Clinical Research Centre for critically editing the manuscript including for English usage.
This study was supported by a grant from The French Society of Clinical Pharmacy, a nonprofit foundation for clinical pharmacy research and development.
Conflicts of interest
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