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Medication compliance aids unpackaged: A national survey

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Sharmila Walters, Mollika Chakravorty, Sophie McLachlan, Jessica Odone, Jennifer M. Stevenson, John Minshull, Rebekah Schiff

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Accepted/In press2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Pharmacological Society.

King's Authors


Aims: Sixty-four million pharmacy-filled multicompartment medication compliance aids (MCAs) are dispensed by pharmacies in England each year. Despite the widespread use of MCAs and evidence that their use may be associated with harm there is no national consensus regarding MCA provision by acute hospital Trusts in England. The aim was to determine current practice for initiation and supply of MCAs in acute hospital Trusts in England and the potential consequences for patients and hospitals. Methods: A 26-item survey was distributed to all acute hospital Trusts in England. The questionnaire covered: policy, initiation, supply and review of MCAs; alternatives offered; and pharmacy staffing and capacity related to MCAs. Results: Seventy-two out of 138 (52%) Trusts responded to the survey: 70 Trusts responded regarding policy for MCA provision, with 60 (86%) having a policy regarding this; 33/55 (60%) that supplied MCAs on discharge supplied a different prescription length for MCA vs. non-MCA prescriptions; 49/55 (89%) Trusts provided only 1 brand of MCA; 47/55 (85%) MCA-supplying Trusts identified frequent difficulties with MCAs and 13/55 (24%) reported employing staff specifically to complete MCAs; and 30/35 (86%) MCA-initiating Trusts had an assessment process for initiation, with care agency request reportedly the most common reason for initiation. Conclusion: There is a lack of a national approach to MCA provision and initiation by acute hospital Trusts in England. This leads to significant variation in care and has the potential to put MCA users at an increased risk of medication-related harm.

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