Appropriate medication use in Dutch terminal care: study protocol of a multicentre stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial (the AMUSE study)

M A M van Hylckama Vlieg*, I E Pot, H P J Visser, M.A.C. de Jong, M.J.D.L. van der Vorst, B J van Mastrigt, J N A Kiers, P.P.P.H. van den Homberg, M F Thijs-Visser, E Oomen-de Hoop, A van der Heide, P H M van der Kuy, C C D van der Rijt, E C T Geijteman

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: 

Polypharmacy is common among patients with a limited life expectancy, even shortly before death. This is partly inevitable, because these patients often have multiple symptoms which need to be alleviated. However, the use of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) in these patients is also common. Although patients and relatives are often willing to deprescribe medication, physicians are sometimes reluctant due to the lack of evidence on appropriate medication management for patients in the last phase of life. The aim of the AMUSE study is to investigate whether the use of CDSS-OPTIMED, a software program that gives weekly personalized medication recommendations to attending physicians of patients with a limited life expectancy, improves patients’ quality of life. 

Methods: 

A multicentre stepped-wedge cluster randomized controlled trial will be conducted among patients with a life expectancy of three months or less. The stepped-wedge cluster design, where the clusters are the different study sites, involves sequential crossover of clusters from control to intervention until all clusters are exposed. In total, seven sites (4 hospitals, 2 general practices and 1 hospice from the Netherlands) will participate in this study. During the control period, patients will receive ‘care as usual’. During the intervention period, CDSS-OPTIMED will be activated. CDSS-OPTIMED is a validated software program that analyses the use of medication based on a specific set of clinical rules for patients with a limited life expectancy. The software program will provide the attending physicians with weekly personalized medication recommendations. The primary outcome of this study is patients’ quality of life two weeks after baseline assessment as measured by the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL questionnaire, quality of life question.

Discussion: 

This will be the first study investigating the effect of weekly personalized medication recommendations to attending physicians on the quality of life of patients with a limited life expectancy. We hypothesize that the CDSS-OPTIMED intervention could lead to improved quality of life in patients with a life expectancy of three months or less. 

Trial registration: 

This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT05351281, Registration Date: April 11, 2022).

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2023. The Author(s).

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