Repeat prescribing in primary care: a prescription study
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Objective There is limited knowledge on repeat prescribing of different drug groups in cases where the physician does not see the patient. This study aimed to investigate the frequency of repeat prescribing of different drug groups both with and without consultation. Method The study was a nationwide prescription database study performed in Finnish primary care in 2001. Each physician in a sample of 400 physicians was asked to report all patient contacts over a specified period of five consecutive working days once over a period of six months, and another sample of 400 physicians did the same for the next six months. Copies of physicians’ prescriptions were collected and data on the drugs and type of prescriptions were recorded. Repeat prescriptions issued with and without a consultation were included. ResultsAbout 19% of all prescriptions were issued without direct contact between the physician and the patient. In the different drug groups, the range was from 2% of antibiotics to 57% of antipsychotics. Psychotropics including hypnotics and tranquillizers, cardiovascular drugs and drugs for elderly patients were most often issued without consultation. Conclusion Repeat prescribing without consultation is common especially for elderly patients and users of psychotropics and cardiovascular drugs, and this may contribute to suboptimal therapy.
KeywordsFinland GP’s Prescriptions Physicians Primary care Repeat prescribing
The authors wish to thank Suomen IMS Health OY for their support.
The Elli Turunen Fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Conflicts of interest
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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