Systematic review of the safety of medication use in inpatient, outpatient and primary care settings in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries
Dean Franklin, Bryony
Background Errors in medication use are a patient safety concern globally, with different regions reporting differing error rates, causes of errors and proposed solutions. The objectives of this review were to identify, summarise, review and evaluate published studies on medication errors, drug related problems and adverse drug events in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Methods A systematic review was carried out using six databases, searching for literature published between January 1990 and August 2016. Research articles focussing on medication errors, drug related problems or adverse drug events within different healthcare settings in the GCC were included. Results Of 2094 records screened, 54 studies met our inclusion criteria. Kuwait was the only GCC country with no studies included. Prescribing errors were reported to be as high as 91% of a sample of primary care prescriptions analysed in one study. Of drug-related admissions evaluated in the emergency department the most common reason was patient non-compliance. In the inpatient care setting, a study of review of patient charts and medication orders identified prescribing errors in 7% of medication orders, another reported prescribing errors present in 56% of medication orders. The majority of drug related problems identified in inpatient paediatric wards were judged to be preventable. Adverse drug events were reported to occur in 8.5–16.9 per 100 admissions with up to 30% judged preventable, with occurrence being highest in the intensive care unit. Dosing errors were common in inpatient, outpatient and primary care settings. Omission of the administered dose as well as omission of prescribed medication at medication reconciliation were common. Studies of pharmacists’ interventions in clinical practice reported a varying level of acceptance, ranging from 53% to 98% of pharmacists’ recommendations. Conclusions Studies of medication errors, drug related problems and adverse drug events are increasing in the GCC. However, variation in methods, definitions and denominators preclude calculation of an overall error rate. Research with more robust methodologies and longer follow up periods is now required.