A smartphone application developed by the University of Liverpool to help healthcare professionals to safely prescribe medications for HIV patients has been praised by leading HIV clinicians at an international HIV conference.
Last week (23 to 26 October) thousands of HIV clinicians and researchers from around the world attended the International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection (HIV Glasgow).
The event included presentations and discussions on a wide range of research including; simplified two-drug regimens for long-term treatment; use of generic drugs for treatment of HIV and hepatitis C; new models of HIV care and advancements in smart applications such as The Liverpool HIV iChart.
Effectiveness of treatment
Liverpool HIV iChart provides a comprehensive drug interaction resource, which is freely available to healthcare workers, patients and researchers across the globe.
Many drug combinations have the potential to interact and this can affect patient safety or the effectiveness of treatment. For this reason, some drug combinations should not be given at all, while other drugs may be used together with caution.
The application and website (www.hiv-druginteractions.org) provide a guide to interactions that may occur between different HIV drugs and over 600 co-medications that a patient may be prescribed, as well as recreational drugs and herbals.
Attendees at the event were surveyed about the resource and were asked for feedback about the application and its use.
Great value to users
The majority of those surveyed said that they always used the website or app when prescribing an unfamiliar drug combination.
Ease and speed of use were highlighted by many respondents as the most useful aspect of the site/app. The resources are clearly viewed as user-friendly, simple and easy to navigate, and this is of great value to users.
Patient safety was highlighted as another advantage by several respondents. Particular features cited include: “allows people to check rather than remember, which is much better”; “safety – early indication of potentially harmful interactions”; “easy to navigate, really simple and fast to use”; ”fact that you can choose multiple drugs”; “DDIs with herbal medicines and recreational drugs” and “interaction charts and the reference to the clinical data”.
Integral to patient management
Drug interactions site/app founder and Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology David Back, said: “When we started out in 1999 the treatment of HIV was rapidly evolving. New drugs, complex regimens and multiple co-medications, particularly in an increasingly ageing population, present a challenge for optimal prescribing. The ‘Liverpool’ resource has become an integral part of patient management.
“This event has given us the opportunity to discuss some of the more complex patient cases which enables us to gain more insight into how the resource can be further developed to help even more people.”