Study: Discharged ICU Patients at Increased Risk of Unintentionally Discontinuing Medication

Discharged patients are at an increased risk of unintentional discontinuation of commonly prescribed chronic disease medications, with this risk even greater for patients who were admitted to an intensive care unit, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For their study, researchers assessed 187,912 hospitalized patients and 208,468 controls. The highest rate of medication discontinuation occurred in the antiplatelet or anticoagulant agent group. In this group, there were 552 patients (22.8 percent) with an ICU admission who discontinued these medications after hospital discharge, compared to 11.8 percent of patients in the control group at 90 days.


The authors also found that there was an increased risk of medication discontinuation in patients with an ICU admission compared with nonhospitalized patients. One-year follow-up of patients who discontinued medications showed an elevated risk for the secondary composite outcome of death, emergency department visit or emergent hospitalization in the statins group and in the antiplatelet/anticoagulant agents group.

Related Articles on Medication Safety:

Study: Duplicate Medical Errors Increased After Implementation of CPOE With Clinical Decision Support
Patient Awarded $650K Settlement From Good Samaritan Medical Center in Florida for Medical Errors
Consumer Reports: Drug Labels Sometimes Lack Key Safety Warnings

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