Polypharmacy of potentially addictive medication in the older persons--quantifying usage.
ABSTRACT The use of restricted medications, for example, opioids, benzodiazepines (BZD), and z-hypnotics, in the older persons continues to increase. Little is known about usage practices or about the extent of polypharmacy within this group. The objectives of this study were (i) to describe polypharmacy and (ii) to develop a medication usage index (MUI) to quantify usage patterns.
Data for 2008 were obtained from the Norwegian Prescription Database containing all prescriptions filled in Norwegian pharmacies. The study population included people aged 70-89 years who filled prescriptions for weak opioids, strong opioids, anxiolytic BZD, hypnotic BZD, and/or z-hypnotics. A MUI was developed based on Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical codes, defined daily doses, Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical subgroups, and number of prescribers.
Forty-two percent of elderly Norwegians filled at least one prescription in one of the medication subgroups in 2008. MUI Level 1 (least) usage was shown by 56.6% of users (23.8% of the general population), Level 2 by 29.7% (12.5%), Level 3 by 11.3% (4.8%), and Level 4 (most) by 2.4% (1.0%). People using strong opioids were the most likely to use other restricted medications. In addition, female participants had a higher MUI than did male participants, and older users higher than younger users. Cancer or palliative care patients attained twice the MUI points than did the others.
Polypharmacy was found to be common within these restricted drug categories for the older persons. MUI provides a convenient approach to summarizing drug usage and will be useful in detecting trends and regional differences and determining the impact of interventions.
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ABSTRACT: Anticholinergic and sedative medications are commonly used in older adults and are associated with adverse clinical outcomes. The Drug Burden Index was developed to measure the cumulative exposure to these medications in older adults and its impact on physical and cognitive function. This narrative review discusses the research and clinical applications of the Drug Burden Index, and its advantages and limitations, compared with other pharmacologically developed measures of high-risk prescribing.Clinical Interventions in Aging 01/2014; 9:1503-1515. · 2.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES Use of anxiolytics-hypnotics, including benzodiazepines and "z" hypnotics, is a public health concern. This study aimed to investigate the trends in prevalence of anxiolytic-hypnotic drug use and polypharmacy (simultaneous use of two or more anxiolytics-hypnotics) in Taiwan. METHODS A dynamic sample of one million individuals who were randomly selected from the National Health Insurance database was used to detect populationwide trends in the use of anxiolytics-hypnotics in Taiwan between 2002 and 2009. The analyses included drugs that are administered orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly as well as single or compound drugs. The authors identified the number of individuals who used the drugs, the sum of days of reported drug use for all individuals (person-days), and the distribution of anxiolytic-hypnotic polypharmacy for all claims for ambulatory, pharmacy, and hospital care. RESULTS Annual prevalence of any anxiolytic-hypnotic use in Taiwan was higher than 20%. The number of person-days greatly increased from 2002 (4.0%) to 2009 (6.6%). The increases in use between 2002 and 2009 were greatest for clonazepam (prevalence, 7% versus 1.8%; person-days, .2% versus .6%) and zolpidem (prevalence, 2.4% versus 4.2%; person-days, .5% versus 1.5%). Polypharmacy accounted for almost 70% of all person-days of anxiolytic-hypnotic use. CONCLUSIONS This nationwide, population-based survey presents real-world epidemiological evidence about anxiolytic-hypnotic use. The adverse effects of the long-term use of anxiolytics-hypnotics have been established, and unnecessary use of these drugs, particularly in polypharmacy regimens, should be avoided.Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 11/2013; · 2.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Patients with a history of deliberate self-poisoning (DSP) are prescribed a greater amount of medication than the general public. DSP is the most robust risk factor for repeat episodes of DSP and subsequent death by suicide, and one might therefore expect that access to prescribed medication would be reduced following an episode of DSP. However, it is unclear whether access to prescribed medication changes after an episode of DSP. The objectives of this study were to investigate changes in 1) overall, psychotropic, non-psychotropic and the psychotropic subgroup antidepressant prescribed medication availability in DSP patients following an episode of DSP, 2) prescribing of the medication ingested in the episode, and 3) potential effects of gender, age and repeater status on such change.PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e98086. · 3.53 Impact Factor