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How pouch packaging can reduce the risks of polymedication

07.07.2021
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Read time 3 minutes
Medication Safety
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High complexity of the intake of medications

Polymedication refers to a patient who permanently takes several different medications. Depending on the definition, it is assumed that at least 3 or 5 medications are taken. A recent population survey (03/2021) showed that, on average, one in four respondents is affected and the percentage increases with age.

In addition to the need to take several different medications, undesired polymedication may also occur. Causes for this can be insufficient communication between the treating therapists or a missing medication plan.

Regardless of whether it is necessary or undesirable, polymedication always entails risks. The higher the complexity of the intake of medications due to an increasing number of medications, the poorer the adherence. Polymedication can also lead to unspecific side effects and complaints that are misinterpreted as independent symptoms. Thus, hospitalizations can be an undesirable consequence of polymedication. In Germany alone, it can be assumed that approximately 250,000 hospitalizations are due to avoidable medication errors.

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Prevent the risk of polymedication

To counteract and prevent the risks of (undesired) polymedication, pouch packaging can help. When using pouch packaging, the patient’s medication schedule is stored centrally at the pharmacy and changes are communicated directly between the physician, pharmacist and blister center. The patient’s overall medication is kept in view, preventing undesired polymedication.

In addition, pouch packaging simplifies the complexity of the medication intake by providing accurate dosing of medications by day and time. This ensures correct intake, despite a high number of medications. Patients’ adherence and safety increase and avoidable medication errors, due to polypharmacy, can be reduced.

The process flow of pouch packaging thus serves as a kind of quality assurance and helps to reduce the risks of polypharmacy or to prevent unwanted polypharmacy.

Sources:

ABDA. (5. Mai 2021). Faktenblatt – Polymedikation. https://www.abda.de/aktuelles-und-presse/faktenblaetter/.

DEGAM. (28.05.2013). Hausärztliche Leitlinie – Multimedikation – Empfehlung zum Umgang mit Multimedikation bei Erwachsenen und geriatrischen Patienten. https://www.awmf.org/uploads/tx_szleitlinien/053-043l_S2e_Multimedikation_2014-05-abgelaufen.pdf.

Bundestag, D. (21.02.2018). Drucksache 19/849. https://dserver.bundestag.de/btd/19/008/1900849.pdf.

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