Chronic Kidney Disease Brings Heavy Pill Burden by National University of Singapore

The burden of taking lots of pills may affect the quality of life of pre-dialysis patients even more than the complications associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

A research team led by Priscilla How, professor in the National University of Singapore’s pharmacy department, studied the relationship between anemia and bone disease, and the quality of life in CKD patients. The results show that neither anemia nor bone disease affected the quality of life in pre-dialysis patients with CKD.

Chronic Kidney Disease
Image source: Public Domain Pictures
Chronic Kidney Disease

In addition, the research finds that patients with bone disease who had a high pill burden experienced a poorer quality of life.

Patients with CKD are frequently prescribed complex therapeutic regimens. For instance, many CKD patients have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol and have prescriptions for an average of 12 medications. The findings from this research address the need to streamline medication therapy and reduce the pill burden to achieve optimal care in CKD patients.

This could in turn improve their quality of life, which is now considered an important measure and “soft” outcome in patient care.

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Pharmacists play a critical role in reviewing medication lists and performing medication reconciliation routinely so as to reduce patients’ total daily pill burden whenever possible. Pharmacists may also participate in multidisciplinary CKD patient care teams to provide medication assessment and management. These pharmacy services contribute to efforts to optimize drug therapy and improve clinical and patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life in the CKD population.

The research team is also actively investigating other aspects related to quality of life in pre-dialysis and dialysis patients, such as comparing the quality of life between hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients, and the effects of a multidisciplinary, collaborative management clinic on the quality of life of new hemodialysis patients. The results will provide understanding of the effect of different stages of CKD on patients’ self-reported health outcomes.

Researchers from the NUS Division of Nephrology also contributed to the study, which appears in the journal Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Source: National University of Singapore

Original Study DOI: 10.1186/s12955-016-0477-8