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Accumulation of Good Intentions: How Individual Practice Guidelines Lead to Polypharmacy in the Treatment of Patients with Polytrauma.
Brown-Taylor L, Jaramillo C, Eapen BC, Kretzmer T, Gavin LP, Cooper T, Pugh MJ. Accumulation of Good Intentions: How Individual Practice Guidelines Lead to Polypharmacy in the Treatment of Patients with Polytrauma. PM & R : the journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation. 2021 Oct 1; 13(10):1169-1175.
Polytrauma clinical triad (PCT) is the comorbid occurrence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and pain after trauma. No clinical practice guidelines for postacute care of patients with PCT currently exist; instead, clinical practice guidelines have been published for the three conditions (TBI, PTSD, and pain) as distinct clinical entities. Using multiple, individual practice guidelines for a patient with PCT may lead to unintended prescription of multiple and potentially adversely interacting medications (ie, polypharmacy). Polypharmacy, especially that which includes central nervous system-acting medications, may lead to overdose, suicidality, and chronic symptomatology. Current individual guidelines for each condition of PCT do not address how to coordinate care for the polytraumatic diagnosis. The purpose of this Practice Management piece is to describe the unintended consequences of polypharmacy in patients with PCT and to discuss mitigation approaches including rational prescribing, nonpharmacologic alternatives, and interdisciplinary coordination.