Drug-Drug Interactions and Prescription Appropriateness at Hospital Discharge: Experience with COVID-19 Patients

Drugs Aging. 2021 Apr;38(4):341-346. doi: 10.1007/s40266-021-00840-y. Epub 2021 Mar 1.


Background: Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are often elderly, with comorbidities, and receiving polypharmacy, all of which are known factors for potentially severe drug-drug interactions (DDIs) and the prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs).

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the risk of DDIs and PIMs in COVID-19 patients at hospital discharge.

Method: Patients with a proven diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection who were hospitalized between 21 February and 30 April 2020, treated with at least two drugs, and with available information regarding pharmacological treatments upon admission and at discharge were considered. The appropriateness of drug prescriptions was assessed using INTERcheck®.

Results: A significant increase in the prescription of proton pump inhibitors and heparins was found when comparing admission with hospital discharge (from 24 to 33% [p < 0.05] and from 1 to 17% [p < 0.01], respectively). The increased prescription of heparins at discharge resulted in a highly significant increase in the potentially severe DDIs mediated by this class of drugs. 51% of COVID-19 patients aged > 65 years had at least one PIM upon admission, with an insignificant increment at discharge (58%).

Conclusion: An increased number of prescribed drugs was observed in COVID-19 patients discharged from our hospital. The addition of heparins is appropriate according to the current literature, while the use of proton pump inhibitors is more controversial. Particular attention should be paid to the risk of bleeding complications linked to heparin-based DDIs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge
  • Potentially Inappropriate Medication List
  • SARS-CoV-2*