Risk of potential drug-drug interactions among Brazilian elderly: a population-based, cross-sectional study

Silvia-Regina Secoli, Albert Figueras, Maria Lúcia Lebrão, Fernão Dias de Lima, Jair Licio Ferreira Santos
Drugs & Aging 2010 September 1, 27 (9): 759-70

BACKGROUND: Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) are one of the main causes of adverse reactions related to medications, being responsible for up to 23% of hospital admissions. However, only a few studies have evaluated this problem in elderly Brazilians.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of potential DDIs (PDDIs) in community-dwelling elderly people in Brazil, analyse these interactions with regard to severity and clinical implications, and identify associated factors.

METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out involving 2143 elderly (aged >or=60 years) residents of the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Data were obtained from the SABE (Saúde, Bem estar e Envelhecimento [Health, Well-Being, and Aging]) survey, which is a multicentre study carried out in seven countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, coordinated by the Pan-American Health Organization. PDDIs were analysed using a computerized program and categorized according to level of severity, onset, mechanism and documentation in the literature. The STATA software statistical package was used for data analysis, and logistic regression was conducted to determine whether variables were associated with PDDIs.

RESULTS: Analysis revealed that 568 (26.5%) of the elderly population included in the study were taking medications that could lead to a DDI. Almost two-thirds (64.4%) of the elderly population exposed to PDDIs were women, 50.7% were aged >or=75 years, 71.7% reported having fair or poor health and 65.8% took 2-5 medications. A total of 125 different PDDIs were identified; the treatment combination of an ACE inhibitor with a thiazide or loop diuretic (associated with hypotension) was the most frequent cause of PDDIs (n = 322 patients; 56.7% of individuals with PDDIs). Analysis of the PDDIs revealed that 70.4% were of moderate severity, 64.8% were supported by good quality evidence and 56.8% were considered of delayed onset. The multivariate analysis showed that the risk of a PDDI was significantly increased among elderly individuals using six or more medications (odds ratio [OR] 3.37) and in patients with hypertension (OR 2.56), diabetes mellitus (OR 1.73) or heart problems (OR 3.36).

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately one-quarter of the elderly population living in Sao Paulo could be taking two or more potentially interacting medicines. Polypharmacy predisposes elderly individuals to PDDIs. More than half of these drug combinations (57.6%, n = 72) were part of commonly employed treatment regimens and may be responsible for adverse reactions that compromise the safety of elderly individuals, especially at home. Educational initiatives are needed to avoid unnecessary risks.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"