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Safer medication for at-risk patients

Pharmaceuticals (Image: veer)

Pharmaceuticals (Image: veer)

FAU researchers investigate if the risks of medication should be made clearer for individual patients

Age, multiple drugs or several illnesses all place patients at greater risk of harmful side effects from medication. Older patients are especially at risk of stroke or gastrointenstinal bleeding from anticoagulant medication. Researchers at FAU, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and the University of Bonn have established the collaborative project ‘IDrug’ to examine how the risk of such harmful side effects can be minimised. The project is being funded with a total of EUR 750,000 from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

‘IDrug’ stands for Individualised Drug Treatment Optimization – a risk assessment based on patient data including the genetic structure, age, renal function and liver function. The question behind the research: Does individual risk assessment benefit the patient more than information leaflets or general practitioners explaining only the most common risks of side effects? Over nine months, the researchers will conduct a comparative study of two groups of patients to investigate whether individual risk assessments can prevent harmful side effects.

Prof. Dr. Oliver Schöffski, Chair of Health Management at FAU, is responsible for evaluating the data submitted by general practitioners. Prof. Schöffski and his team will analyse where medication changes have led to complications, transfers to specialist doctors or hospital admissions and use questionnaires to evaluate how knowledge of a specific risk affects the patient’s quality of life. The researchers expect that individual risk assessment will help to make medication safer and reduce harmful side effects.

During the study, Prof. Schöffski will calculate the cost of the expected improvement in terms of medication, doctors and hospital admissions. This information will be used in a cost-benefit analysis from the perspective of patients, doctors, health insurance companies and the economy. ‘Unfortunately the resources available in healthcare are not infinite,’ says Prof. Schöffski. ‘This means that measures which improve the quality of healthcare must also be justified in relation to the additional costs they incur.’ A sub-project on the economic aspects of pharmacotherapy has received funding of EUR 120,000.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Oliver Schöffski
Phone. +49 (0) 911 5302 313
oliver.schoeffski@wiso.uni-erlangen.de

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