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Research Paper Open Access
Objectives To evaluate the appropriateness of proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use by assessing the level of compliance of PPI prescribing practices with published guidelines and to assess the potential cost avoidance through inappropriate prescribing. Method A six-week observational study of PPI prescriptions was undertaken between April and June 2005, involving hospital in patients who were taking a PPI prior to admission. The patients were evaluated using a standardised questionnaire to obtain information regarding their PPI use and efficacy. Results Among the 679 patients admitted during the study period, 133 were receiving a PPI, and of these 97 (50 men and 47 women) were enrolled into the study. The commonest indication for PPI use was gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD, n = 71; 73.2%). In this cohort, more than one-quarter of patients (26.6%) were using greater than the standard PPI dose. Over half of the patients had at least one risk factor known to exacerbate GORD (51.5% were overweight, 46.4% alcohol consumers and 14% current smokers), and 71.1% were receiving medications known to cause or worsen reflux symptoms. Of those patients who reported alarm symptoms, 84% had undergone endoscopy. The overall compliance with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescribing guidelines was 78.4%, with the major reason for non-compliance being use for non-PBS indications. Estimated cost savings through adoption of recommended prescribing practices and the implementation of step-down therapy for GORD patients were up to AUD 90 866 and AUD 118 456 per 100 patient-treatment-years, respectively. Conclusion PPIs continue to be prescribed outside the treatment guidelines. As a result, opportunities exist to reduce the cost of PPI use through management of contributing factors, adherence to recommended dosage schedules and use of step-down therapy in asymptomatic patients where appropriate.
Innovative primary care, Primary care medicines, Advanced concepts in primary care