JOURNAL ARTICLE

Inappropriate medication prescribing in homebound older adults

A G Golden, R A Preston, S D Barnett, M Llorente, K Hamdan, M A Silverman
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1999, 47 (8): 948-53
10443855

OBJECTIVES: Little is known about the prescribing of medications in the growing population of homebound older adults. We report on the prevalence and pattern of inappropriate medications in a nursing home-eligible, homebound population.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional design.

SETTING: A managed care plan for individuals meeting nursing home eligibility.

PARTICIPANTS: 2193 homebound people older than age 60.

MEASUREMENTS: We reviewed the pharmacy profiles of all older homebound enrollees. We identified the average number of medications per patient and the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs. The medication profiles were also analyzed in the context of the 26 drugs/groups listed as inappropriate by the explicit criteria of Beers [Arch Intern Med 1997; 157:1531-1536].

RESULTS: A total of 2193 people aged 60 to 106 (mean 82.8 +/- 8.8) were taking an average of 5.3 +/- 2.9 drugs (range 0-22). Cardiac drugs and benzodiazepines were the medications most commonly prescribed. We found 1152 of the total 11,689 prescriptions (9.9%) to be inappropriate. Eight hundred seventy-one (39.7%) of these 2193 residents had at least one inappropriate prescription, and 230 (10.4%) had two or more. Of particular concern were 285 people prescribed excessive doses of temazepam and zoldipem, 211 people taking first-generation antihistamines, 115 taking doxepin or amitriptyline, 106 taking an ergoloid, 98 taking dipyridamole, and 85 prescribed a long-acting benzodiazepine.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed a high prevalence of psychotropic medications and inappropriate drug use among older homebound residents, a group that is at the highest risk for adverse drug reactions. Because this group is not subject to oversight by regulatory agencies, further interventional studies and provider education will be important.

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