Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2000 , Vol 3, Issue 2
Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı – Ankara There are a few studies concerning the drug use in elderly. The prevalence of the chronic disease and multiple drug use increase in the older population. The aim of this study was to evaluate and quantify drug utilization in a sample of nursing home residents over 60 years. 1944 residents (748 women, 1196 men) in 23 cities in Turkey were included. Data was obtained from the participants via face to face interview. The mean age of the study population was 75.4%8.2 years (74.3%7.7 years for men, 77.1%87 years for women). Prevalence of chronic diseases were as followed: hypertension 30.7%, osteoarthritis 20.4%, heart failure 13.7%, diabetes mellitus 10.2%, coronary artery disease 9.8%, osteoporosis 8.2%. Cardiovascular system drugs were the most commonly used drug (26.7%). The rate of drug use according to groups were as followed: analgesic and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 20.8%, hematopoietic system drugs 14.8%, gastrointestinal system drugs 12%, endocrine system drugs 10.6%, diuretics 10.5%, vitamin and nutritional agents 10.2%, respiratory system drugs 9.5%, psychiatric drugs 7.5%, central nervous system drugs 4.7%, antibiotics 2.8%, genitourianary system drugs 2.6%, dermatological preparations 2.0%, ophthalmic preparations 1.9% and otic preparations 0.9%. 5.5% of the study population reported side effects due to drug utilization. 'The most common side effect was gastrointestinal side effects. polypharmacy is common in the elderly. 28.2% of the participants were using one drug, 24.3% two drugs, 18.5% three drugs, 11.7% four drugs and 17.3% were using five and more drugs. Polipharmacy was positively correlated with side effects (r=0.146, p<0.05). It is known that as number of drugs used by the elderly increases, risk for adverse effects are multiplied. We also found a positive correlation between side effects and polypharmacy. Doctors should encourage use of minimal number of drugs. Since disability and chronic diseases are more prevalant among nursing home residents compared to community dwellers, the rate of drug utilization found in this study may not reflect drug use in the community. Keywords : Elderly, Drug use, Side effects, Polypharmacy