Medication Discrepancies at Outpatient Departments for Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the Netherlands: Risks and Clinical Relevance




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Objective: To identify discrepancies between actual drug use by outpatients with mood and anxiety disorders and medication overviews from health care providers as well as to investigate the clinical relevance of those discrepancies.

Methods: A cross-sectional study in adults visiting 1 of 4 participating outpatient departments for mood and anxiety disorders was conducted between March and November 2014. DSM-5 criteria were used to assign the psychiatric diagnosis. The primary outcome was the number of discrepancies between the actual medication use, as determined by medication reconciliation with the patient, and the medication overview from the outpatient department, general practitioner, and community pharmacy. Our secondary outcome was the clinical relevance of discrepancies, as assessed by an expert panel that reviewed all discrepancies for their potential to cause patient harm.

Results: Of 367 patients included, 94.8% had at least 1 discrepancy in the medication overview from the outpatient department. A mean of 3.9 discrepancies existed per patient. Most discrepancies (74.5%) related to omitted drugs (drugs taken regularly by patients but absent from the medication overview). Of all discrepancies at the outpatient departments, 22.7% had the potential to cause moderate to severe discomfort or clinical deterioration, affecting 49.3% of the patients. Both total number and number of clinically relevant discrepancies were lower in medication overviews from general practitioners and pharmacies.

Conclusion: Patients from outpatient departments for mood and anxiety disorders may be at substantial risk for medication discrepancies that are often clinically relevant. Medication reconciliation at mental health care outpatient departments is in need of improvement.

J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77(11):1511–1518