Background Due to the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the percentage of older HIV-positive patients is growing, with an increase in comorbidities and chronic medication. Nowadays, patients over 50 years are considered as an elderly population because of the age-related weakening of the immune system.
Purpose To determine the prevalence of polypharmacy in HIV-positive individuals treated with antiretroviral therapy in a regional hospital. Another outcome is to quantify the number of chronic medications in patients older than 50 years compared to patients younger than 50.
Material and methods Observational, retrospective study including HIV-positive patients with active antiretroviral therapy in January 2018. Exclusion criteria were: patients without clinical follow-up and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The variables, collected from the electronic medical records and the electronic prescribing system, were: sex, age and chronic treatment. Polypharmacy was defined as simultaneous prescription of ≥6 active principles, including antiretroviral therapy. ‘Major polypharmacy’, described as ≥11 active principles, was also analysed. The statistical analysis was performed using SPSS Statistic.
Results Two-hundred and thirteen patients were included, 73% were men and 27% women. The mean age was 51±11 years. It is noteworthy that 60% of patients were older than 50 years. The prevalence of polypharmacy was 50%. Likewise, the prevalence of ‘major polypharmacy’ was nearly 11%. The mean number of drugs per patient (including HAART and concomitant medication) was significantly higher in the elderly group (7.0±2.8 versus 5.3±2.5).The most frequently prescribed treatments were: anxiolytics and hypnotics (31%), antihypertensives (21%), lipid-lowering agents (20%) and antidepressant drugs (17%).
Conclusion The prevalence of polypharmacy was high and similar to other studies, especially in elderly patients. It is necessary to develop specific health measures to help pharmacotherapy optimisation in this group of patients.
Reference and/or acknowledgements Morillo-Verdugo R, Robustillo-Cortes M, Sanchez-Rubio J, et al. Prevalence and pharmacotherapeutic complexity of polypharmacy in HIV+ patients in Spain: point study. Eur J Hosp Pharm 2018;25:A249–A250.
No conflict of interest.
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