CHN and Navarrabiomed present, in Navarre, the European OPTIMAGE network to optimize drug therapy in the elderly

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CHN and Navarrabiomed present, in Navarre, the European OPTIMAGE network to optimize drug therapy in the elderly

  • The online event was held yesterday with the participation of more than 150 professionals from hospital, community, social health and research settings

The Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Center, together with the Hospital Complex of Navarre (CHN), organized an online presentation yesterday to introduce the European OPTIMAGE network in Navarre. OPTIMAGE is being developed within the framework of the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020) under the leadership of the University Hospital Center of Toulouse. More than 150 people from hospital, community and social health settings participated in the event, as well as research and business professionals, not to mention representatives from patients’ associations and members of the public.
The goal of OPTIMAGE is to optimize drug therapy in the elderly (an age bracket in which polypharmacy can be common, with some patients taking 10 or 12 different drugs) to avoid adverse effects that can lead to extended hospital stays and worsening of the patient’s prognosis. This situation is technically known as drug iatrogenesis. The project’s aim is to prevent this phenomenon through better cooperation among healthcare professionals on using drugs appropriately. Pharmacists are therefore key members of the multidisciplinary team, which also includes healthcare professionals working to prevent drug iatrogenesis.

Leading the initiative is Nicolás Martínez Velilla, Head of the Navarrabiomed Geriatrics Research Unit and also Head of the CHN Geriatrics Service, who highlighted the network’s multicenter structure. “With OPTIMAGE, we want to join the forces of all agents at the Navarre Health Service by implementing pharmacological optimization, providing instruction, encouraging professionals to take part in internships in different regions in the Pyrenees, and sharing and standardizing protocols and good practices,” Martínez said.
Besides Nicolás Martínez, the following people spoke at the presentation: Marisol Fragoso Roanes, Managing Director of Navarrabiomed, Alfredo Martínez Larrea, Managing Director of the CHN, Antonio López Andrés, Assistant Director of Pharmacy and Care at the Navarre Health Service (SNS-O), and Maite Sarobe Carricas, Head of the CHN Pharmacy Service. They all showed their support for this network project, which calls for close management and coordination between the services and units involved.

Maite Sarobe said that OPTIMAGE would considerably improve patient care. She went on to say, “This project gives us the chance to improve care by means of specific polypharmacy screening at the Geriatrics Service, where the goal is to optimize therapeutics among the elderly.” She also stressed the importance of monitoring and supervising drug therapy in the elderly, detecting any interactions, confirming the suitability of the drug and its optimal dose in each case, and understanding that the patient’s suffering may be due to the drug prescribed, as well as the suitability of the drug to the patient’s lifestyle, caregivers and setting.

Other participants at the presentation were Daniel Villanueva Canabal and Victoria Roncal Belzunce, Navarrabiomed project manager and project coordinator, respectively; Ramón San Miguel Elcano, specialist in hospital pharmacy at the CHN; Javier Garjón Parra, Head of the Drug Advisory and Information Service at the SNS-O; and Cecilia Calvo Pita and Goizane Ros Bernaola, specialists in hospital pharmacy at the SNS-O.

Strategic axes

The OPTIMAGE network was created as part of the APTITUDE network for the prevention of dependence in the elderly. OPTIMAGE aims to bolster and complement APTITUDE by including community and hospital pharmacists. Consortium members besides Navarrabiomed include the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (project leader), the Health and Aging Foundation of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Andorran Health Service.
The project will operate for 29 months along three main axes: the creation of a network against drug iatrogenesis made up of professionals, patients and family members; the training of different social groups; and the implementation of actions for the elderly to improve drug management, and helping develop the European gerontology excellence center begun by APTITUDE.

Cooperation between professionals is a key means of preventing drug iatrogenesis. The exchange of knowledge across the Pyrenees will therefore help provide a clearer view of the strengths and weaknesses of each territory in the areas of the optimization of drug therapy in geriatrics, the prevention of drug iatrogenesis, therapeutic education, teaching and innovation.

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

Left to right: Nicolás Martínez, Alfredo Martínez, Marisol Fragoso, Antonio López, Maite Sarobe, Daniel Villanueva and Victoria Roncal.
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Evento de lanzamiento del proyecto europeo OPTIMAGE en Navarra
Martínez Velilla
Investigador principal