Optimizing medication management for patients with cirrhosis: Evidence-based strategies and their outcomes

Mary J. Thomson, Anna S. Lok, Elliot B. Tapper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Cirrhosis is a morbid condition associated with frequent hospitalizations and high mortality. Management of cirrhosis requires complex medication regimens to treat underlying liver disease, complications of cirrhosis and comorbid conditions. This review examines the complexities of medication management in cirrhosis, barriers to optimal medication use, and potential interventions to streamline medication regimens and avoid medication errors. A literature review was performed by searching PUBMED through December 2017 and article reference lists to identify articles relevant to medication management, complications, adherence, and interventions to improve medication use in cirrhosis. The structural barriers in cirrhosis include sheer medication complexity related to the number of medications and potential for cognitive impairment in this population, faulty medication reconciliation and limited adherence. Tested interventions have included patient self-education, provider driven patient education, intensive case management including medication blister packs and smartphone applications. Initiatives are needed to improve patient, caregiver and provider education on appropriate use of medications in patients with cirrhosis. A multidisciplinary team should be established to coordinate care with close monitoring, address patient and caregiver concerns, and to provide timely access to outpatient evaluation of urgent/complex issues. Future studies evaluating the clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness of interventions are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1882-1890
Number of pages9
JournalLiver International
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by an NIH Training Grant in Epidemiology and Health Services (T32 DK062708 - MJT) and an NIH Grant from the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (KL2 TR002241 - EBT).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • case management
  • end-stage liver disease
  • medication adherence
  • patient education


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