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Drug-related problems in a general paediatric ward of a tertiary care hospital in Malaysia

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Background Drug-related problems are relatively common among hospitalised patients and may be detrimental to patients and even increase healthcare costs. Characterising drug-related problems allows remedial actions to be in place to minimise the frequency and ensure higher medication safety for the patients involved. Currently, the incidence of drug-related problems among hospitalised paediatric patients in Malaysia is unknown. Objective To determine the incidence, types and intervention acceptance, as well as the risk factors associated with drug-related problems in a Malaysian general paediatric ward. Setting General paediatric ward in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre. Method A cross-sectional observational study was conducted from March to May 2019. Data were collected from patients’ medical charts, clinical notes and medical records for problem identification based on the modified Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE) classification V 8.02. The incidence, types, causes and intervention acceptance as well as the risk factors were assessed. Main outcome measure Drug-related problems based on the modified PCNE classification V 8.02. Results In total, 225 paediatric patients with a total of 694 prescriptions were included in this study. The incidence of drug-related problems was 52.9% (198 prescriptions with problems in 119 patients). The main types of problems were treatment safety (68 prescriptions, 34.3%), incomplete prescription (56 prescriptions, 28.3%) and un-optimised drug treatment (35 prescriptions, 17.7%). The main causes for the problems were necessary information not provided (n = 63, 30.1%), inappropriate dose selection (n = 47, 22.5%) and medication served without a valid prescription (n = 40, 19.1%). Of the 143 interventions proposed to prescribers by the pharmacist, 117 (81.8%) were accepted. The number of prescriptions was found to be the only risk factor associated with DRPs (odds ratio, 1.91; 95% confidence interval, 1.54–2.38; p < 0.001). Conclusion The frequency of drug-related problems among general paediatric ward patients is high and with each increase in prescription a patient received, the risk of a DRP doubles.

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We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the medical doctors and nurses at paediatric ward of UKMMC for their cooperation during the conduct of the study.


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Correspondence to Noraida Mohamed Shah.

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Hon, M.Y., Chua, X.Y., Premakumar, C.M. et al. Drug-related problems in a general paediatric ward of a tertiary care hospital in Malaysia. Int J Clin Pharm 42, 948–955 (2020).

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