Diabetes in the elderly: drug use and the risk of drug interaction

Maria Aparecida Medeiros Barros do Prado Priscila Maria Stolses Bergamo Francisco Marilisa Berti de Azevedo Barros About the authors

Abstract

This study sought to outline the sociodemographic and health profile of elderly persons with reported diabetes, to assess the knowledge and practices regarding treatment options and describe the use of medications and potential risks for drug interactions (DI) in this subgroup. In 2008,a cross-sectional study was conducted of 1,517 elderly citizens in Campinas in which the prevalence of diabetes was estimated and its associations assessed using the Rao-Scott test (p < 0,05).The potential drug interactions were evaluated using the Micromedex® database. Diabetes prevalence was 21.7%, without significant difference between the sexes. A higher percentage of elderly diabetics was found aged over 70, with less schooling, per capita family income of less than 1 minimum wage and no occupational activity. The average drug intake was 3.9 in the previous 3 days. Possible interactions were identified in 413 cases and 53.1%, 7.8% and 7.2% of the subjects presented moderate, minor and serious risk of DI, respectively. The importance of adopting a healthy diet and physical activity for weight reduction, disease and complication control is stressed. The need for attention to the potential for drug interactions and the use of inappropriate medications among the elderly is highlighted.

Diabetes Mellitus; Use of medication; Drug interaction; Health of the elderly; Health survey

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