Development of a pharmacist-driven protocol for automatic medication dosage adjustments in obese patients.

American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

PubMedID: 26386107

Russell JM, Nick-Dart RL, Nornhold BD. Development of a pharmacist-driven protocol for automatic medication dosage adjustments in obese patients. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2015;72(19):1656-63.
PURPOSE
A hospital protocol utilizing automatic dosage adjustments and pharmacist consultations to optimize the use of certain medications in obese patients is described.

SUMMARY
After conducting a literature search focused on medication dosing in obese patients, pharmacists at a large community hospital developed a list of commonly ordered medications appropriate for inclusion in a pharmacy-driven institutional protocol for automatic medication dosage adjustment in adult patients with obesity. Evidence-based recommendations on initial dosing of eight antimicrobials and two anticoagulant agents according to weight and renal function were formulated. Under the protocol, pharmacists receive electronic alerts regarding protocol-eligible patients during initial order verification and automatically adjust medication dosages as appropriate. For patients prescribed anticoagulants at specified dosage levels, clinical pharmacists consult with prescribers to help ensure safe and effective initial and ongoing therapy. Multidisciplinary educational initiatives were conducted prior to protocol implementation. During two designated three-week postimplementation data collection periods, pharmacists received a total of 372 protocol-eligible medication orders. Pharmacists adjusted a total of 149 dosages and verified an additional 183 dosages consistent with the protocol as originally ordered. Clinical pharmacy consults were completed for 10-15% of patients, with laboratory monitoring ordered in 25-30% of those cases (all patients were found to have appropriate test values). There have been no documented adverse drug reactions in patients whose medication dosages were adjusted per protocol.

CONCLUSION
Pharmacists implemented weight- and renal function-based dosage adjustments for obese patients in 40% of evaluated protocol-eligible cases to achieve 89% compliance with the protocol. Heparin and cefazolin were the medications most likely to require obesity-related dosage adjustments.