Unintended discontinuation of medication following hospitalisation: a retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVES: Whether unintended discontinuation of common, evidence-based, long-term medication occurs after hospitalisation; what factors are associated with unintended discontinuation; and whether the presence of documentation of medication at hospital discharge is associated with continuity of medication in general practice.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study between 2012 and 2015.

SETTING: Electronic records and hospital supplied discharge notifications in 44 Irish general practices.

PARTICIPANTS: 20 488 patients aged 65 years or more prescribed long-term medication for chronic conditions.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Discontinuity of four evidence-based medication drug classes: antithrombotic, lipid-lowering, thyroid replacement drugs and respiratory inhalers in hospitalised versus non-hospitalised patients; patient and health system factors associated with discontinuity; impact of the presence of medication in the hospital discharge summary on continuity of medication in a patient's general practitioner (GP) prescribing record at 6 months follow-up.

RESULTS: In patients admitted to hospital, medication discontinuity ranged from 6%-11% in the 6 months posthospitalisation. Discontinuity of medication is significantly lower for hospitalised patients taking respiratory inhalers (adjusted OR (AOR) 0.63, 95% CI (0.49 to 0.80), p

CONCLUSION: Discontinuity of evidence-based long-term medication is common. Increasing age and private medical care are independently associated with a higher risk of medication discontinuity. Hospitalisation is not associated with discontinuity but less than half of hospitalised patients have medication recorded on their hospital discharge summary.