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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

What do medical records tell us about potentially harmful co-prescribing?

Lafata JE, Simpkins J, Kaatz S, et al. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety. 2007;33:395-400.

Drug–drug interactions resulting in adverse drug events are common causes of preventable harm to patients. This study used retrospective medical record review to assess if physicians were aware of potential drug–drug interactions, and if so, if patient education was provided. Although physicians generally documented medication lists appropriately, patient education on the potential for drug interactions and their symptoms was generally not documented. Though lack of documentation does not always indicate lack of knowledge or inappropriate management, the study results raise the concern that patients may be left unaware of the risks of polypharmacy.