Background: Advances in the clinical management of diseases have been accompanied by
increasing complexity of treatment regimens. The complexity of medication regimen is of concern for
patients as well as doctors as it may adversely affect patient compliance and treatment outcomes. It
may result in medication errors, increased utilization of health resources owing to a reduction in
treatment effectiveness, and increased risk of therapeutic failure.
Objective: The study aims to assess the complexity of medication regimen prescribed to patients on
hospital discharge using the medication regimen complexity index (MRCI).
Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted. Hospital discharge prescriptions written
for patients discharged from the General Medicine wards of a tertiary care teaching hospital in South
India were scored for their complexity using MRCI. The correlation of age and gender with the MRCI
scores was also assessed. Patients ≥60 years of age were considered elderly.
Results: The median MRCI score for 563 prescriptions studied was 14 (Interquartile range, 9−21).
Elderly patients received a significantly more complex medication regimen compared with younger
patients (p < 0.001) at the time of hospital discharge. Gender variation was seen with higher MRCI
scores in females, but this was not statistically significant in the elderly group.
Conclusion: MRCI scores are significantly high in elderly patients at the time of hospital discharge.
Although a strong correlation is seen between the number of medications and the MRCI score, the
latter helps to distinguish regimen complexity between prescriptions with the same number of
Keywords: medication regimen, prescription, elderly, gender, age, drug
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