Background: Human albumin is an expensive therapy with inappropriate use in many clinical conditions. Inappropriate use of albumin imposes a substantial economic burden on the healthcare system and society. Drug use evaluation (DUE) is one method of assessing the appropriateness of drug use which has been powered by increasing concern about the cost-effectiveness of drugs. The objective of this study is to systematically review the appropriateness of albumin utilization in Iranian hospitals.
Methods: We searched the PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, and Google Scholar for articles in English and SID, Magiran, Medlib, and Irandoc for articles in Persian from 1997 to 2018. Studies on the DUE of albumin in Iranian hospitals were included in this study. Articles conducted outside Iran, editorials, letters and review articles were excluded.
Results: In total, eight studies were selected for the final review. The majority of the papers were conducted in Tehran. In most studies, the highest albumin consumption was related to the intensive care unit. The most frequent reasons for prescribing albumin were edema, hypoalbuminemia, volume expansion after heart surgery, ascites, cardiac surgery and cirrhosis. Of the studies included, five studies evaluated the costs of drug use.
Conclusion: Our findings show that inappropriate use of albumin imposes a relatively high additional cost on the society. The included studies show that the percentage of inappropriate use of albumin is relatively high in Iran and this abuse is an essential problem in Iranian hospitals. Prescription based on standard guidelines could improve rational use of albumin and lead to savings in treatment costs