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Inappropriate medication use in older adults with chronic diseases in a health plan in São Paulo, Brazil

INTRODUCTION:

Polypharmacy and prescribing inappropriate medication to the elderly can cause a lot of unwanted effects, compromising their functional capacity.

OBJECTIVE:

Checking for the presence of inappropriate medication prescription in a group of elderly linked to a private health plan with coverage in the city of São Paulo-SP, Brazil.

METHODOLOGY:

Study based on the analysis of prescriptions made to a group of elderly linked to a private health plan, all bearers of chronic degenerative diseases and accompanied by doctors of various specialities, in the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, during years 2012 and 2013. The medications were examined according to the criteria of Beers reviewed by the American Geriatrics Society in 2012.

RESULTS:

Were observed prescriptions made to 2,500 elderlies with a total of 8,760 medicines. Of those, 2,926 33.4% were considered inappropriate for use in older adults. The most prescribed were anti-inflammatory drugs, followed by cardiovascular and centrally acting medications. Most of these aged people have no personal doctor, being accompanied, on average, by 4 doctors of different specialties.

CONCLUSION:

The researched group features a high number of prescriptions of inappropriate medications for use in the elderly, which, added to their own characteristics, causes this group to have an increased risk for the appearance of iatrogenics. The use of criteria of easier memorization to identify these drugs and, mainly, to review how the supplementary health sector in Brazil serves this age segment is of paramount importance in order to preserve the quality of life of elderly.

Drug prescriptions; Elderly health care; Health Plans


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