Intended for healthcare professionals

Clinical Research

Do patients fasting before and after operation receive their prescribed drug treatment?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 12 March 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:744
  1. R Wyld,
  2. W S Nimmo


    Periods of fasting perioperatively make normal drug treatment difficult to maintain. One hundred and seventy patients admitted consecutively for operations (excluding those having cardiac, neurosurgical, and orthopaedic operations) were studied to identify whether they received their prescribed drugs. Seventy two were receiving drugs unrelated to their operation or anaesthesia. One thousand seven hundred and forty six single prescriptions (that is, single doses) were recorded as to be given on the day of surgery and the next day, of which 256 (15%) were not administered. All prescriptions of analgesics and premedicants were given; when these were excluded the proportion of prescriptions that were not given rose to 29%. The prescriptions omitted included 38 out of 95 for drugs for cardiovascular disease, 34 out of 103 for drugs for respiratory disease, and 10 out of 61 for drugs for endocrine disorders.

    The omission of drugs was not known to the medical staff and may introduce variability in the response of patients perioperatively.