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Reducing the Unnecessary Use of Heavily Marketed Medications: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Information source: VA Boston Healthcare System
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Use of Sleep Medications

Intervention: Computerized alerts (Behavioral); Alerts Plus Detailing (Behavioral)

Phase: N/A

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: VA Boston Healthcare System

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Steven R Simon, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care


Prescribing decisions by clinicians are often thought to be simple: a patient's clinical problem leads a prescriber to choose the optimal treatment. However, many factors other than the patient's condition affect prescribing decisions, including the marketing of pharmaceuticals. Clinicians are subjected to direct "detailing" by representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, advertisements in medical journals and requests for specific treatments from patients, who are increasingly exposed to direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising. These influences, often based on biased or inaccurate information, contribute to a variety of problems in prescribing, including the unnecessary use of expensive, heavily marketed medications. Overcoming these influences requires innovative approaches. The movement toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic prescribing presents new opportunities to educate both clinicians and patients at the time of medication prescribing. This project, endorsed by the AHRQ-supported Centers for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERTs; www. certs. hhs. gov) and the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), aims to test the effectiveness of computerized prescribing alerts and state-of-the-art educational outreach to reduce the unnecessary use of heavily marketed medications. A second goal is to improve clinicians' knowledge of industry marketing practices, so that they can more effectively assess information provided by drug companies. Thus, the study has two specific aims: Specific Aim 1: To assess whether computerized prescribing alerts linked electronically to patient educational material can reduce prescribing of heavily marketed medications. Specific Aim 2: To assess whether group academic detailing increases clinicians' knowledge about industry marketing practices and increases the effect of prescribing alerts.

Clinical Details

Official title: Reducing Unnecessary Use of Heavily Marketed Medicines: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Computerized Prescribing Alerts and Clinician Education

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Health Services Research

Primary outcome: proportion of prescriptions for hypnotic medications that were heavily marketed medications (study medications). Hypnotic medications were defined as the study medications intervention plus zolpidem and trazodone.


Minimum age: N/A. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Internal medicine clinicians

Exclusion Criteria:

- none

Locations and Contacts

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: March 2007
Last updated: December 19, 2012

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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