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Guide to active drug ingredients and pharmaceuticals manufacturers

When patients are admitted to hospital they often have to take different drugs from those they had previously been taking. A team from the pharmacy department at the University Hospital of Heidelberg and the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology at the University Hospital in Heidelberg has now developed an effective tool for preventing errors when medication is changed.

The team of scientists has received the Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH Innovation Prize for Clinical Pharmacy. The “Clinical Pharmacy Cooperation Unit” that brings together pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists has made it possible to optimise drug therapies at the interface between outpatient and inpatient treatment. The new programme has been integrated into the multi-award winning AiDKlinik drug information system.

The Innovation Prize, which was awarded for the sixth year in a row on the 30th May 2008 at the Annual Meeting of the German Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ADKA) in Lübeck, comes with a purse of 10,000 euros. The prize supports projects relating to the improvement of patient-oriented drug treatment. In 2008, the Prize was shared equally between teams at the University Hospital of Heidelberg and the Hospital in Neuruppin.

Limited selection of drugs makes the shift to new drugs time-consuming and is prone to mistakes

“A hospital pharmacy is unable to stock all of the approximately 62,000 drugs that are available on the German drug market, many of which have similar or the same effects,” said Dr. Torsten Hoppe-Tichy, head of pharmacy at the Heidelberg University Hospital. The hospital only has about 2,700 different drugs in stock. “Therefore, when patients are admitted to hospital it is often necessary to change their drugs,” said Hoppe-Tichy explaining that this can be a time-consuming and error-prone process.

When selecting drugs with similar or identical ingredients produced by different manufacturers, pharmacists and doctors often run the risk of prescribing an unsuitable drug that could be potentially dangerous for the patient. “Despite this risk, hospital pharmacists are unable to check every switch in medication. This is too time-consuming and would require too many staff,” said Stefanie Walk, who is a pharmacist and head of projects at the University Hospital. “We therefore set out to develop and test a computer-assisted programme that is to a large extent able to automatically change the medication prescribed by the patient’s GP at the same time as taking into consideration associated diseases and incompatibilities of each patient,” explained Ms. Walk.

New programme finds replacement drugs and reduces the workload of physicians and pharmacists

The interdisciplinary team in the Clinical Pharmacy Cooperation Unit has achieved what it set out to do: The algorithm of the programme was tested on the drug profiles of 120 patients and turned out to be an effective tool for standardising a large proportion of routine drug changes. It was possible to adapt more than 90 per cent of the drugs being taken by the study participants upon admittance to hospital to the drugs available in the hospital pharmacy. The programme was only unable to find suitable replacements in two per cent of patients taking part in the study. In such cases, the physicians or hospital pharmacists either manually determined which new drug was best suited for each patient or ordered the patient’s existing medication from external suppliers.

“The new programme reduces the workload of physicians and hospital pharmacists in routine cases and leaves them free time to concentrate on more complex cases,” explains Prof. Dr. Walter E. Haefeli, Medical Director of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology at the University Hospital in Heidelberg. The programme also enables the entire hospital to resort to the know-how of the group: “In order to make access to drug information even easier, we have integrated the new programme into the electronic drug expert system AiDKlinik. The programme is currently being reviewed by the pharmacy’s drug information centre and will subsequently be available at the University Hospital of Heidelberg as well as at other hospitals,” said Haefeli who was involved in the development of AiDKlinik.
Receiving the Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH Innovation Prize for Clinical Pharmacy (from the left): Stefanie Walk, Dr. Thilo Bertsche and Dr. Torsten Hoppe-Tichy from the University Hospital of Heidelberg
Receiving the Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH Innovation Prize for Clinical Pharmacy (from the left): Stefanie Walk, Dr. Thilo Bertsche and Dr. Torsten Hoppe-Tichy from the University Hospital of Heidelberg (Photo: Deutscher Apotheker Verlag, Stuttgart)

AiDKlinik: competent web-based drug pilot

The computer-based drug information system, AiDKlinik, is a product of Dosing GmbH, which was spun out from the University Hospital of Heidelberg in 2006 by Professor Haefeli and Jens Kaltschmidt, an engineer at the hospital. AidKlinik is aimed at preventing errors made by physicians in the prescription of medication, for example duplicate prescriptions, incorrect dosage and hazardous interaction with other drugs. It also provides information on the use of drugs during pregnancy, breastfeeding as well as for patients suffering from renal insufficiency and for many other risk constellations. Together with the programme’s sister system, AiDPraxis, the integrated HeiCare project enables GPs to be on the same network as pharmacists and physicians at the Heidelberg University Hospital. The web-based doctor’s AiD (www.doctors-aid.de) platform is available for GPs and pharmacists working in private practices.
Walk SU, Bertsche T, Kaltschmidt J, Pruszydlo MG, Hoppe-Tichy T, Walter-Sack I, Haefeli WE. Rule-based standardised switching of drugs at the interface between primary and tertiary care. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2008;64:319-27.
Source: University Hospital of Heidelberg - 6th June 2008
Further information
Stefanie Walk
Pharmacy - University Hospital Heidelberg
E-mail: stefanie.walk@med.uni-heidelberg.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/guide-to-active-drug-ingredients-and-pharmaceuticals-manufacturers