The ‘inherited’ patient, where a patient switches to a new doctor, is a common and potentially challenging scenario, especially where drugs of dependence are involved. There are few resources to guide general practitioners (GPs) with an approach that ensures compassion and rational clinical decision-making.
The aim of this article is to guide GPs in an approach to taking over the care of an inherited patient and focuses on considerations of rational prescribing.
In taking over the care of a new patient’s pharmacotherapy, GPs need to proactively assess how rational and legal the ‘inherited’ medications are, and decide whether to continue, modify or cease. Our knowledge of the role and risks of drugs of dependence has evolved considerably over the past decade. GPs, therefore, need to carefully consider the ongoing role of these medications for new and existing patients.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 2016