Switching From IV to Oral Meds Cuts Health Care Costs

In patients eligible for oral intake, switch from IV to oral equivalents cuts hospital costs

MONDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- For patients who are clinically eligible for oral (PO) medication intake, switching from intravenous (IV) to oral medication can substantially reduce the annual cost of health care, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Clinical Therapeutics.

Brandyn D. Lau, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues investigated the potential impact on hospital medication budgets with converting targeted medications from IV to PO administration in patients clinically eligible for oral intake. Four costly IV medications, including chlorothiazide, voriconazole, levetiracetam, and pantoprazole, each representing a different class of drug, and with highly bioavailability PO equivalents were reviewed. The Johns Hopkins Hospital's computerized provider order entry system data were used to determine the doses of the four IV medications administered in patients with concurrent PO intake.

The investigators found that more than two-thirds of the adult inpatients who were receiving PO intake were also given IV chlorothiazide, voriconazole, levetiracetam, or pantoprazole. This use of the IV instead of the PO forms of these medications yielded a yearly cost increment of $1,166,759.70 at the hospital.

"Efforts to remind physicians to convert patient orders from IV to PO medications in patients eligible for PO medication intake could have a considerable impact on the total cost of health care," the authors write.

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