Inappropriate medication use and prescribing indicators in elderly Australians: development of a prescribing indicators tool

Benjamin J Basger, Timothy F Chen, Rebekah J Moles
Drugs & Aging 2008, 25 (9): 777-93

BACKGROUND: Evidence-practice gaps, adverse medication-related incidents and unplanned medical admissions to hospital are common in elderly Australians. Many prescribing indicator tools designed to address some of these problems have been reported in the literature, the most common of which is the Beers list of inappropriate medications in the elderly. However, many of these tools are not appropriate for the Australian healthcare environment without modification and validation, and there appears to be a need for a tool based on Australian data.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a list of prescribing indicators for elderly (aged >65 years) Australians based on the most frequent medications prescribed to Australians, and the most frequent medical conditions for which elderly Australians consult medical practitioners.

METHOD: The most common reasons for elderly Australians to seek or receive healthcare were cross-referenced with the 50 highest-volume Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medications prescribed to Australians in 2006 to develop prescribing indicators in the elderly using Australian medication and medical condition information resources.

RESULTS: Forty-eight prescribing indicators were identified, consisting mainly of optimum as well as inappropriate medication choices for a large number of common medical conditions in the elderly.

CONCLUSION: A prescribing indicators tool was developed. This tool is envisaged as forming an important part of the medication review process, which is aimed at addressing the common problem of adverse medication-related events in elderly Australians.

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