Pro-active provision of drug information as a technique to address overdosing in intensive-care patients with renal insufficiency

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Aug;65(8):823-9. doi: 10.1007/s00228-009-0643-6. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


Purpose: To correct overdosing of drugs requiring adjustment based on renal function in intensive-care patients.

Methods: In a prospective intervention study, we estimated individual glomerular filtration rate and assessed whether medication required dose adjustment based on renal function. Senior clinicians received a structured report containing recommendations as to whether and how to adjust dosage in the individual patient (intervention). Prevalence of overdosed drugs (primary outcome), extent of overdoses, and reasons for nonacceptance of recommendations (secondary outcomes) were assessed.

Results: Of 138 screened intensive-care patients, 68 (49%) had renal impairment, and 110 (14%) of the 805 prescribed drugs required consideration of renal function. A potential overdose was found in 53/110 drugs (48%) and this rate decreased to 26/110 (24%, P < 0.001) after the intervention. The average extent of overdose was reduced from 54% before to 31% after the intervention (P < 0.001). The main reasons expressed by the physicians for nonacceptance of recommendations were a large therapeutic index or minor overdoses of the involved drugs.

Conclusions: In intensive-care patients, overdosing of drugs requiring adjustment based on renal function is still very common. Drug information counselling significantly decreased the prevalence and extent of overdose.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Care*
  • Drug Overdose / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Renal Insufficiency / metabolism*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations