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Over 75s on many prescriptions at risk of hospitalisation

Taking too many types of medication is likely to lead to hospitalisation in the over-75 population, new research has suggested.

Patients taking of ten or more medications are 300% more likely to be hospitalised, according to the results of a review by Interface Clinical Services displayed in a poster at last week’s RCGP conference.

Pharmacists reviewed the medical care of over 1,800 patients over a year and found that on average each patient had 14 GP consultations and were prescribed over six different medicines.

More than 20% of patients found to be on medication they did not need. As a result of the review, 35% of patients had their medication stopped and 4% had their doses reduced.

The review saved the NHS £192,000 including savings related to preventing hospital admissions, the company said, adding that adverse and side effects from drugs account for 5% and 17% of all hospital admissions.

The findings come as GPs have been advised to to offer tailored care plans to people with two or more long-term conditions and consider stopping all treatments with ‘limited benefit’, by long-awaited new NICE guidelines on multimorbidity published last month.

The poster said that ‘medication reviews are a key strategy to help practices and patients address [the problem of hyperpolypharmacy]’, concluding that considering the cost of the programme and the reduction in admissions ’the clinical programme would pay for itself 1.8 times in a year’.