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Background: Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy are at increased risk for medication errors during transitions of care between the outpatient and inpatient settings. This can lead to treatment failure or toxicity. Previous studies have emphasized the prevalence of medication errors in such patients, but few have reported initiatives to prevent errors from occurring.

Methods: The study was conducted in a 1,400-bed health care center with a state-designated Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Center in the Bronx, New York. The antimicrobial stewardship team and HIV specialists developed customized order-entry sets (COES) to guide ARV prescribing and retrospectively reviewed their effect on error rates of initial ARV orders for inpatients before reconciliation. Patient records were reviewed in six-month periods before and after intervention. The student’s t-test or Mann–Whitney U test was used to compare continuous variables; chi-square or Fisher’s exact test was used for categorical variables.

Results: A total of 723 and 661 admissions were included in the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods, respectively. Overall, error rates decreased by 35% (38.0% to 24.8%, P < 0.01) with COES. Wrong doses and drug interactions decreased by more than 40% (P < 0.005). Error reductions were observed in protease inhibitor (PI)-based (43.6% versus 28.7%, P < 0.01) and non–PI-based (38.0% versus 24.4%, P = 0.02) regimens with COES. A shift in predominant drug-class errors was observed as there was a trend toward increased usage of non-PI regimens post-intervention. Admission in the pre-intervention period (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.39–2.31) and use of PI-based regimens (AOR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.53–2.70) remained significantly associated with ARV prescribing errors after controlling for confounding factors.

Conclusion: Detailed COES improved ARV prescribing habits, reduced the potential for prescribing incorrect regimens, and can prove useful and cost-effective where HIV-specific medication reconciliation is unavailable.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in P & T, 40(5), 353-360. Reprinted with permission. Non-commercial use only. This material can be found here.