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A new study published in BMC Medicine highlights the best medications for preventing hospital admissions.

Lead author Nik Bobrovitz says this work, funded by the NIHR School for Primary Care Research, is a key step towards reducing emergency care pressures.

“We need to reduce demand on emergency services, which are currently stretched to their limit. Past initiatives have failed. We decided to examine the issue from a unique and simple perspective.”

Bobrovitz and a team of 14 other researchers at the University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine reviewed data from nearly 2000 drug trials and 1 million patients. They identified eleven commonly used medications that significantly reduce emergency admission rates in patients with major chronic diseases, such as heart failure, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“In patients with chronic diseases, medications can help to manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups that would otherwise require urgent health care. These medications we highlighted are highly effective at helping people better deal with their disease and stay out of the hospital.”

The UK-based researchers suggest their study has implications for health systems all over the world.  

“In most health systems there are programs to track whether highly effective interventions are being used appropriately. When they aren’t being properly used, efforts are made to improve their use. The eleven medications we identified should be part of these programs. We know from previous studies that these drugs are not always prescribed to patients that need them and, often, are prescribed in too low a dose.”

The researchers hope their work will help to ease the burden on emergency services.

“We believe our research will help to improve patient care. It will also make important progress in better managing emergency hospital admissions. This is a simple strategy that has been overlooked. We believe it can be an effective solution to a complex problem.”

Publication: “Medications that reduce emergency hospital admissions: an overview of systematic reviews and prioritisation of treatments

Blog:Which medications prevent emergency hospital admissions?

For more information about this research: please contact the lead author, Niklas Bobrovitz, by email (niklas.bobrovitz@phc.ox.ac.uk) or on twitter (@nikbobrovitz

About the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM): The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) is housed within the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. The CEBM aims to develop, teach and promote evidence-based health care through a variety of methods so that all healthcare professionals can maintain the highest standards of medicine