Research Roundup

Debbie Rigby rounds up the latest in research news

Prescription opioid dispensing in Australian children and adolescents

In this population-based study one in 74 Australian children, including one in 25 adolescents, were dispensed an opioid in 2017. Dispensing of weak opioids (codeine, tramadol) decreased between 2013 and 2017, but accounted for 60.7% of the opioids dispensed to children and adolescents. Codeine was the most commonly dispensed opioid, accounting for 50.5% prescriptions dispensed.

Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, published 8 October 2019.

Statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease

Absolute risk reductions of statins for low risk patients for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease are small and patients may not consider that the absolute benefits justify taking a daily medication or the risk of adverse effects. The evidence on statin use for primary prevention suggests that the concepts of overuse and low value care should become integral to policy making and resource allocation decisions.

BMJ 2019;367:15674.

Impact of medication reconciliation on health outcomes

An overview of five systematic reviews on the value of medication reconciliation in different settings (hospitals, the community and residential aged care facilities) has concluded there is no clear evidence in favour of intervention in mortality, length of stay, ED visits, unplanned readmissions, physician visits and healthcare utilization. Medication reconciliation was not consistently found to be associated with improvements in health outcomes.

Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, available online 17 October 2019.

Lipid Management for the Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease

This review summarises current methods of managing serum lipid levels for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It supports shared decision-making in the context of an individual patient’s major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the patient’s estimated level of risk within the next 10 years. The adoption of a heart-healthy lifestyle should be encouraged.

N Engl J Med 2019;381:1557-67.

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