Turkish Journal of Geriatrics 2017 , Vol 20, Issue 4
FREQUENCY OF POLYPHARMACY AND USE OF POTENTIALLY INAPPROPRIATE MEDICATIONS IN THE ELDERLY
Güzin Zeren ÖZTÜRK1, Cüneyt ARDIÇ2, Dilek TOPRAK1
1Sisli Hamidiye Etfal Training and Research Hospital Family Medicine Clinic İSTANBUL
2Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Family Medicine RİZE
Introduction: Increased rates of increase in the elderly population, chronic illnesses and drugs usage are inevitable, making polypharmacy more frequent in older adults. Our study aimed to investigate the frequency of polypharmacy in the elderly and to examine their medication use.

Materials and Method: Three hundred elderly individuals (aged >65 years) who visited our family medicine polyclinic were included in the study. In addition to collecting sociodemographic information, a questionnaire about current drug use was administered. Currently used drugs were listed by doctors and screened using screening tools. Data were analysed using the chi-square and Student’s t-tests; p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: A total of 1,650 drugs were used by study participants. The mean number of drugs per patient was 5.50±2.84 (range, 1–14). Polypharmacy (≥5 drugs) was present in 187 (62.3%) participants; 5–9 drugs were used by 158 (52.7%). Hyperpolypharmacy (≥10 drugs) was present in 29 (9.7%) participants. In total, 317 (19.2%) drugs were on the list of the European Union Potentially Inappropriate Medications, and 195 (65%) patients were using at least one potentially inappropriate medication. A total of 124 (7.5%) medications were stopped due to unnecessary usage. Patients were referred to branch doctors because of 108 (6.5%) drugs.

Conclusion: Polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication usage were both very frequent in this elderly population sample. Polypharmacy was positively related only to chronic diseases, negatively related to closely controlled therapy. For this reason, evaluation of drug use in the elderly is an important step. Keywords : Aging; Inappropriate prescriptions; Polypharmacy; Drug therapy; Drug prescription; Chronic disease