open access

Vol 13, No 3 (2019)
Review articles
Published online: 2019-09-13
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An overview of the use of drugs in palliative care settings worldwide

Natalia Krzyżaniak, Iga Pawłowska, Karolina Kuźbicka
DOI: 10.5603/PMPI.2019.0017
·
Palliat Med Pract 2019;13(3):134-141.

open access

Vol 13, No 3 (2019)
Review articles
Published online: 2019-09-13

Abstract

Introduction: To provide an overview of drug use in palliative care worldwide and to identify the most
commonly used medicines in palliative care settings.
Methods: Quasi–systematic review. Search strategy: Medline/PubMed, Embase, SCOPUS and Google
Scholar were searched utilizing the selected MeSH terms: palliative care, hospice, drug utilization, and
prescription patterns.
Results: Overall, it is apparent that there is a significant lack of published literature outlining drug usage in
palliative care settings. Twelve sources of information were reviewed from 9 different countries including
Austria (n = 1), Brazil (n = 1), Canada (n = 1), Germany (n = 1), Italy (n = 2), Netherlands (n = 2), Norway
(n = 1), Switzerland (n = 1) and USA (n = 3), as well as a multinational study comparing 11 European countries.
Medication use between countries was similar. The most commonly prescribed classes of medicines
included non-opioid analgesics, opioids, laxatives, sedatives and antipsychotics and the most commonly
prescribed individual drugs comprised morphine, haloperidol, laxatives and paracetamol.
Conclusions: The literature identifies that there is insufficient evidence to describe and compare what drugs
are currently used in palliative care settings worldwide. This is attributed to the lack of recently published
articles leading to a large gap in knowledge in understanding drug utilization practices in palliative care.
Further research is required to address these gaps in knowledge, and identify medication management issues
in palliative care and determining whether there are significant differences in drug management practices.


Palliat Med Pract 2019; 13, 3: 134–141

Abstract

Introduction: To provide an overview of drug use in palliative care worldwide and to identify the most
commonly used medicines in palliative care settings.
Methods: Quasi–systematic review. Search strategy: Medline/PubMed, Embase, SCOPUS and Google
Scholar were searched utilizing the selected MeSH terms: palliative care, hospice, drug utilization, and
prescription patterns.
Results: Overall, it is apparent that there is a significant lack of published literature outlining drug usage in
palliative care settings. Twelve sources of information were reviewed from 9 different countries including
Austria (n = 1), Brazil (n = 1), Canada (n = 1), Germany (n = 1), Italy (n = 2), Netherlands (n = 2), Norway
(n = 1), Switzerland (n = 1) and USA (n = 3), as well as a multinational study comparing 11 European countries.
Medication use between countries was similar. The most commonly prescribed classes of medicines
included non-opioid analgesics, opioids, laxatives, sedatives and antipsychotics and the most commonly
prescribed individual drugs comprised morphine, haloperidol, laxatives and paracetamol.
Conclusions: The literature identifies that there is insufficient evidence to describe and compare what drugs
are currently used in palliative care settings worldwide. This is attributed to the lack of recently published
articles leading to a large gap in knowledge in understanding drug utilization practices in palliative care.
Further research is required to address these gaps in knowledge, and identify medication management issues
in palliative care and determining whether there are significant differences in drug management practices.


Palliat Med Pract 2019; 13, 3: 134–141

Get Citation

Keywords

drug utilization, palliative care, prescription patterns, hospice

About this article
Title

An overview of the use of drugs in palliative care settings worldwide

Journal

Palliative Medicine in Practice

Issue

Vol 13, No 3 (2019)

Pages

134-141

Published online

2019-09-13

DOI

10.5603/PMPI.2019.0017

Bibliographic record

Palliat Med Pract 2019;13(3):134-141.

Keywords

drug utilization
palliative care
prescription patterns
hospice

Authors

Natalia Krzyżaniak
Iga Pawłowska
Karolina Kuźbicka

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