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Brady KJS, Barlam TF, Trockel MT, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:287-297.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics to treat viral illnesses is an ongoing patient safety threat. This study examined the association between clinician depression, anxiety, and burnout and inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in outpatient care. Depression and anxiety, but not burnout, were associated with increased adjusted odds of inappropriate prescribing for RTIs.
Díez R, Cadenas R, Susperregui J, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19:4313.
Older adults living in nursing homes are at increased risk of polypharmacy and its associated adverse outcomes, such as drug-drug interactions. The medication records of 222 older adult residents of one Spanish nursing home were screened for potential drug-drug adverse events. Nearly all included residents were taking at least one potentially inappropriate medication, and drug-drug interactions were common.
Kukielka E, Jones R. Patient Safety. 2022;4:49-59.
Medication errors can occur in all clinical settings, but can have especially devastating results in emergency departments (EDs). Between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2020, 250 serious medication errors occurring in the ED were reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System. Errors were more likely to occur on weekends and between 12:00 pm and midnight; patients were more likely to be women. Potential strategies to reduce serious medication errors (e.g., inclusion of emergency medicine pharmacists in patient care) are discussed.
LaScala EC, Monroe AK, Hall GA, et al. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022;38:e387-e392.
Several factors contribute to pediatric antibiotic medication errors in the emergency department, such as the frequent use of verbal orders and the need for  weight-based dosing. Results of this study align with previous research and reinforce the need for further investigation and interventions to reduce antibiotic medication errors such as computerized provider order entry.

Deprescribing is an intervention used to reduce the risk of adverse drug events (ADEs) that can result from polypharmacy. It is the process of supervised medication discontinuation or dose reduction to reduce potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use.

Brühwiler LD, Niederhauser A, Fischer S, et al. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e054364.
Polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications continue to pose health risks in older adults. Using a Delphi approach, experts identified 85 minimal requirements for safe medication prescribing in nursing homes. The five key topics recommend structured, regular review and monitoring, interprofessional collaboration, and involving the resident.
Huynh I, Rajendran T. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001363.
Unintentional therapeutic duplication can lead to life-threatening complications. As part of a quality improvement project on a surgical ward, staff were educated about the risks of therapeutic duplication and strategies to decrease it. After one month of education and reminders, the rate of therapeutic duplication decreased by more than half.

Ridge K. London, England: Crown Copyright; 2021. September 22, 2021.

Overprescribing has attained prominence as a safety issue due to the current opioid epidemic, but it has long reduced medication safety across the spectrum of health care. The report examines the systemic and cultural issues that contribute to overprescribing and recommends a governmental leadership position to drive change and implement deprescribing and other reduction initiatives.
Blum MR, Sallevelt B, Spinewine A, et al. BMJ. 2021;374:n1585.
Older adults with multimorbidity and polypharmacy are at increased risk of adverse drug events. This cluster randomized controlled trial compared drug-related hospitalization rates of older adults who received a structured deprescribing intervention and those who received usual care. While rates of polypharmacy decreased, there was no effect on drug-related hospitalizations.
Green AR, Aschmann H, Boyd CM, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e212633.
Effective communication between patient and provider is key to successful deprescribing.  Participants in this study were asked to rate potential phrases a clinician may use to explain why stopping or reducing a medication is important. The most preferred phrase involved an explanation of risk of side effects associated with the medications while the least preferred options focused on the effort involved in taking the medication and “this medication is unlikely to help you function better”. Understanding the patient’s priorities can help frame the conversation around deprescribing.
Holmqvist M, Thor J, Ros A, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21:557.
Polypharmacy in older adults puts them at risk for adverse drug events. In interviews with primary care clinicians, researchers found that working conditions and working in partnership with colleagues, patients, and family influenced medication evaluation. They also identified two main areas of action: working with a plan and collaborative problem-solving. 
Shafiee Hanjani L, Hubbard RE, Freeman CR, et al. Intern Med J. 2021;51:520-532.
Cognitively impaired older adults living in residential aged care facilities (RACF) are at risk of adverse drug events related to potentially inappropriate polypharmacy. Based on telehealth visits with 720 RACF residents, 66% were receiving polypharmacy, with cognitively intact residents receiving significantly more medications than cognitively impaired residents. Overall, 82% of residents were receiving anti-cholinergic medications which should be avoided in this population. Future interventions and research should pay particular attention to the prescribing of these medications.

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Polypharmacy is a known challenge to patient safety. This collective program encourages long-term care organizations, physicians, and pharmacists to take part in a learning network to share aggregated data, lessons learned, and educational opportunities to reduce medication adverse events through safe deprescribing. 
Hahn EE, Munoz-Plaza CE, Lee EA, et al. J Gen Intern Med. 2021;36:3015-3022.
Older adults taking potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) are at increased risk of adverse events including falls. Patients and primary care providers described their knowledge and awareness of risk of falls related to PIMs, deprescribing experiences, and barriers and facilitators to deprescribing. Patients reported lack of understanding of the reason for deprescribing, and providers reported concerns over patient resistance, even among patients with falls. Clinician training strategies, patient education, and increased trust between providers and patients could increase deprescribing, thereby reducing risk of falls. 
Fudge N, Swinglehurst D. BMJ Open. 2021;11:e042504.
Polypharmacy – particularly in older adults – can increase the risk of adverse drug events. Based on an ethnographic case study of community pharmacies in England, the authors found that polypharmacy was a pervasive problem but rarely discussed as a safety concern and not actively challenged by pharmacy staff.
Dellinger JK, Pitzer S, Schaffler-Schaden D, et al. BMC Geriatr. 2020;20:506.
Polypharmacy in older adults is common and may increase risk of medication-related adverse events. This study found that an intervention combining educational training, tailored health information technology, and a therapy check process improved medication appropriateness in nursing home residents.  

Boodman SG. Washington Post. January 23, 2021.

Misdiagnosis can perpetuate over a long period and delay a correct course of treatment. This news feature shares an example of depression misdiagnosis that masked the true problem of a neurological tumor manifesting in what was seen and treated as a psychological condition. 

Katie J. Suda, PharmD, MS is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine. She is a pharmacist by training with a specialty in infectious diseases and a research concentration in the area of dental antibiotic and opioid stewardship. We discussed antibiotic and opioid prescribing in dental care and challenges for implementing stewardship programs.

Zhou J, Calip GS, Rowan S, et al. Pharmacotherapy. 2020;40:992-1001.
This study analyzed the association between potentially inappropriate prescribing involving opioids prescribed by dentists and emergency department visits and hospitalizations among older patients. Results indicated that a significant proportion of older patients prescribed opioids by their dentist have contraindications (such as psychotropic medication use) which places them at increased risk for 30-day hospitalizations.