Background The use of potentially inappropriate medicines (PIMs) is common among the older population. Inappropriate drugs as well as polypharmacy expose older people to a greater risk of adverse drug reactions, and may cause hospitalizations. Only a few studies have examined the potential influence of the use of PIMs on functional status, cognitive status, quality of life, visual acuity and handgrip strength in older people.
Purpose To evaluate the relationship between the use of PIMs and weakness measured by functional status, cognitive status, quality of life, visual acuity and handgrip strength.
Materials and Methods A longitudinal study of patients aged ≥65 years admitted to an Acute Medical Ward in Denmark. Data was collected from October–December 2011, at admission and at a follow-up visit 30 days after discharge. Data included information on social status, home care, functional status, cognitive status, handgrip strength, quality of life, visual acuity and medicines at time of follow-up, both over-the-counter medicines and those from the general practitioner. In addition data about days of hospitalisation, age, gender and comorbidities was also collected. PIMs were evaluated by a Danish list of PIMs, and polypharmacy was defined as a regular use of ≥5 drugs. The Charlson Comorbidity Index was used to categorise comorbidities.
Results Seventy-one patients (55% men) with a median age of 79 years participated. The median number of drugs was eight per person. Eighty percent were exposed to polypharmacy. PIMs occurred in 85% of the participants, and PIMs were associated with low function status (β: −1.88, p = 0.032), low handgrip strength (β: −9.82, p = 0.006) and reduced quality of life (β: −0.19, p = 0.0005), but not with morbidity as assessed by Charlson Index. Social status, home care and visual acuity were not associated with PIMs.
Conclusions PIMs are common among older people. The use of potentially inappropriate drugs has a negative impact on functional status, handgrip strength and quality of life.
No conflict of interest.
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