Investigating the Frequency and Nature of Medication-Related Problems in the Women’s Health Unit of an Australian Tertiary Teaching Hospital

Rebecca Thompson, Lisa Whennan, Jasmine Liang, Chris Alderman, Luke E. Grzeskowiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite the large burden medication-related morbidity and mortality places on the Australian health care system, there is little known about the extent of this problem in a women’s health (obstetric and gynecology) setting. Objective: Determine the frequency and nature of medication-related problems (MRPs) occurring in a women’s health unit (WHU) of an Australian teaching hospital. Methods: A prospective audit of consecutive cases of patients treated in the WHU at a tertiary-level teaching hospital was undertaken by a clinical pharmacist over a 5-week period. Data collected included the following: patient characteristics, type of MRP (using a modified version of the Hepler-Strand classification system), medication involved (according to the World Health Organisation Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system), and clinical significance (using a 2-level severity index). Results: A total of 454 potential MRPs were identified over the 5-week period among 241 patients. A total of 39 MRPs (8.6%) identified were deemed to be of moderate/high clinical significance. The highest number of MRPs (221; 49%) was identified among women admitted following a cesarean delivery, with 83 of 85 women in this group experiencing at least 1 MRP. Additional factors associated with an increased likelihood of patients experiencing a MRP included increased age, length of hospital stay, and number of regular medications taken prior to and during admission (P < 0.05). Conclusion: The widespread nature of identified MRPs in this setting suggests that various approaches to minimizing these problems and mitigating the associated burden on the health care system are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770-776
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • medication errors
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • perinatal care
  • pharmacist
  • pharmacy service
  • pregnancy
  • safety


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