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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910On-line version ISSN 1518-8787


RIBEIRO, Andréia Queiroz et al. Survey on medicine use by elderly retirees in Belo Horizonte, Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.4, pp.724-732.  Epub May 09, 2008. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To describe self-reported use of medicines by Brazilian elderly retirees focusing on gender differences. METHODS: Household survey conducted in a random sample comprising 667 subjects aged 60 years or more who were living in Belo Horizonte, Southeastern Brazil, in 2003. The elderly were interviewed by pharmacists, using a standardized questionnaire. The prevalence of medicine use and mean use in the 15 days previous to the interview were estimated and then stratified by gender according to sociodemographic and health variables. RESULTS: The prevalence of medicine use was 90.1%, and significantly higher among women (93.4%) than men (84.3%). Women and men took on average 4.6±3.2 and 3.3±2.6 products (p<0.001), respectively. The most frequently used drug category was cardiovascular, followed by nervous system and gastrointestinal tract and metabolism. Women showed higher use in all these drug categories, as well as higher mean number of drugs consumed, according to selected sociodemographic and health variables. CONCLUSIONS: The study identified higher use of medicines by women, making them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of polytherapy, such as drug interactions and inadequate use of medicines.

Keywords : Health of the Elderly; Drug Utilization; Drugs of Continuous Use; Drug Therapy, Combination; Gender and Health; Pharmacoepidemiology.

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