Background Potentially inappropriate medicines (PIM) use in older adults has been associated with increased medicines-related problems and morbidity. Investigating the prevalence of this problem is important for the initiation of intervention programmes in order to prevent its occurrence.
Purpose To estimate the prevalence of PIM use in older adults and determine the drugs involved.
Materials and methods Prospective study carried out in a third level hospital over 8 months (from January to August 2013). All patients older than 65 years were included who were taking ≥5 medicines and were admitted to the hospital’s internal medicine service. Each patient’s home medicines profile was revised after admission. The frequency of PIM use was analysed according to the Beers criteria 2012. The criteria reviewed covered 2 types of statements: medicines that should generally be avoided in persons 65 years or older and medicines that should not be used in older persons known to have specific medical conditions (drug-disease interaction).
Results A total of 216 patients were evaluated in this study. The average age was 78.8 ± 8.8. A total of 193 PIM were detected in 79(36.6%) patients.
Frequency of PIM was: long acting benzodiazepines 35(16.2%), digoxin > 0.125 mg/d 38(17.6%), amiodarone 4(1.8%), amitriptyline 6(2.7%), first-generation antihistamines 12(5.5%), doxazosin 11(5.1%), nifedipine immediate release 2(0.9%), aspirin > 325 mg/d 2(0.9%), non–COX-selective NSAIDs 16(7.4%).
Frequency of drug-disease interaction was: heart failure-diltiazem 12(5.5%), dementia and cognitive impairment-benzodiazepines 28(13.0%), Parkinson’s disease- metoclopramide 5(2.3%), history of gastric or duodenal ulcers- NSAIDs 8(3.7%), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors-hyponatraemia 4(1.8%), stress or mixed urinary incontinence-doxazosin 10(4.6%).
Conclusions The results of this study showed a high prevalence of PIM use in older adults. Inappropriate chronic use of potentially unsafe medicines must be a key issue in medical and pharmaceutical care. Interventions for decreasing drug-related problems should be planned in order to minimise drug-related costs.
No conflict of interest.
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