The aim of this study was to assess the association between prescription changes frequency (PCF)
and hospital admissions and to compare the PCF to the Chronic Disease Score (CDS). The CDS measures comorbidity on the basis of the 1-year pharmacy dispensing data. In contrast, the PCF is based on prescriptionchanges over a 3-month period.
A retrospective matched case–control design was conducted. 10.000 patients were selected randomly from the Dutch PHARMO database, who had been hospitalized (index date) between July 1, 1998 and June 30, 2000. The primary study outcome was the number of prescription changes during several three-month time periods starting 18, 12, 9, 6, and 3 months before the index date. For each hospitalized patient, one nonhospitalized patient was matched for age, sex, and geographic area, and was assigned the same index date as the corresponding hospitalized patient.We classified four mutually exclusive types of prescription changes: change in dosage, switch, stop and start.