JOURNAL ARTICLE

Quality of prescribing for the elderly in Croatia-computerized pharmacy data can be used to screen for potentially inappropriate prescribing

Vera Vlahović-Palcevski, Ulf Bergman
European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2004, 60 (3): 217-20
15069591

OBJECTIVE: The quality of medication use by the elderly is a major safety concern because of an increasing number of people in this segment of the population and the fact that they are major drug consumers. The objective of this study was to test whether administrative computerized pharmacy prescription data could be used to assess the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication use by the elderly in Rijeka, Croatia, using two sets of explicit criteria data.

METHODS: In 2002, the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication use in the elderly aged 70 years or over was evaluated using Beers' criteria. Inappropriate co-prescribing was evaluated using a list of eight potentially harmful drug combinations. Information on the use of drugs was collected from a computerized pharmacy record of all prescriptions dispensed in the "Jadran Pharmacies" in Rijeka.

RESULTS: Five computerized pharmacies dispensed 306,000 (65% of all prescriptions in Rijeka); 78,000 were for those aged 70 years and over. Among these elderly, the prevalence of inappropriate choice of drugs was 2.2% and inadequate co-prescribing 1.9%. The most common inappropriate drug was a long-acting benzodiazepine, diazepam. Mostly used potentially harmful combinations were a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) co-prescribed with a diuretic, and two benzodiazepines co-prescribed.

CONCLUSION: We found that computerized pharmacy data can be used as a screening tool in efforts to improve the quality of drug prescribing in Rijeka. Explicit criteria for assessing inappropriate prescribing for the elderly can easily be applied to population based surveys. This study suggests a low rate of potentially inappropriate prescribing for the elderly in Rijeka.

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