What are the most common reasons for withholding medications perioperatively?

Updated: Jan 09, 2018
  • Author: Nafisa K Kuwajerwala, MD; Chief Editor: William A Schwer, MD  more...
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Kluger et al showed that 44% of surgical patients took medications prior to surgery, with an average of 2.1 drugs per patient. [1] Cardiac medications accounted for the largest proportion of prescriptions (41%). Almost 50% of the drugs were omitted on the day of surgery, while on the first day after the operation, 33% of the medications were withheld. The reasons for this pattern included the following:

  • Fasting (49%)

  • Failure of the admitting doctor to prescribe (29%)

  • Drug withheld on order of medical staff (10%)

  • Drug unavailable in pharmacy or not delivered to the ward (1%)

  • Gastrointestinal tract operation with prolonged ileus (3%)

  • Unknown (8%)

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