J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2012 Sep;51(5):312-317.

Patterns of Drug Use and Factors Associated with Polypharmacy in Elderly Patients Visiting Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Inje University College of Medicine, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea. intuit@paik.ac.kr

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
The objective of this study was to investigate the patterns and recent trends in polypharmacy among elderly patients visiting psychiatric outpatient clinic.
METHODS
289 elderly patients visiting psychiatric outpatient clinic were interviewed and their medical records were thoroughly reviewed. Inclusion criteria were as follows : 1) 65 years and older age patients, 2) diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorder according to ICD-10 criteria, 3) who were willing to participate in this research. Demographic data and clinical data, including prevalence of polypharmacy, doses and types of drugs both prescribed and self-administered, were analyzed. Polypharmacy was defined as the long-term simultaneous use of six or more drugs. Data were statistically analyzed by t-test, analysis of variance, and simple regression analysis.
RESULTS
57.1% of the patients were prescribed with more than six drugs simultaneously. Mean number [+/-standard deviation (SD)] of psychiatric drug was 3.42+/-1.41. Prevalence of polyphamacy was different among psychiatric disorder groups, bipolar disorder group being the highest (mean+/-SD drug used=5.17+/-0.98). Regarding sedative-hypnotics, 59.5% of patients were prescribed (mean+/-SD drug used=2.02+/-1.07). Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and total number of drugs prescribed were positively correlated (p<0.05). Herb medicine/dietary supplement had no influence on total number of used drugs.
CONCLUSION
Elderly patients are suffering from many comorbidities and vulnerable to multiple drug use that can be potentially harmful, so it is important and essential to be aware of the possibility of polypharmacy and prescribe appropriate drugs to improve their quality of life.

Keyword

Polypharmacy; Elderly; Psychiatric outpatient
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