Are Clinical Decision Support Systems a Better Way to Reduce Drug-Drug Interactions?

Current drug interaction software has been shown to be ineffective.

Many patients receive treatment for multiple diseases. This occurrence, polypharmacy, can lead to patients experiencing a drug-drug interaction (DDI).

DDIs are especially common among elderly patients, who could be taking up to 20 drugs.

In a study published by Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology, researchers explored how clinical decision support systems may reduce the risk of DDIs and subsequent hospital visits.

Current drug interaction screening software has been shown to be ineffective in providing physicians with the information they need to be aware of when prescribing patients, according to the study.

This software currently alerts physicians when there is a direct drug risk, but it does not take any other pertinent information into consideration.

The patient’s age, gender, ethnicity, dosing history, and any other key factors in prescribing were left out of the software. The researchers also criticized the amount of alerts physicians would receive, stating that a majority of the alerts would be ignored.

The study indicates that other researchers found only a small percentage of initially detected DDIs were considered relevant after removing irrelevant detections. These irrelevant detections would be determined by the physician.

Researchers are hopeful that the introduction of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) would remove these issues. If the patient’s pertinent data would be considered by the software, it would, in theory, create less false detections.

Researchers suggest that since CDSS would compile a variety of data, the likelihood of a patient experiencing a DDI would be lessened as well.

Development of this software would allow physicians to better care for their patients and it would improve the overall health and wellbeing of patients, the study concluded.