Korean J Psychosom Med.  2018 Dec;26(2):172-178. 10.22722/KJPM.2018.26.2.172.

Factors Associated with the Use of Over-the-Counter Medications in the Elderly Living Alone

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea. mdjjlee@dankook.ac.kr


This study aimed to describe the use of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and to identify predictors for their use in the elderly living alone.
This is a cross-sectional study that enrolled 1,099 subjects. Data regarding socio-demographic status, medical condition, cognition, mood disorder and use of OTC drugs were collected using self-administered questionnaire and from a specific semi-structured interview by a trained nurse. Data regarding use of OTC drugs were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Logistic regression analysis was applied to examine factors associated with the use of OTC drugs.
The use of OTC drugs were reported by 35.4% of the subjects. Analgesics (13.6%) was the most frequent drugs. Depression (OR=1.10, 95% CI=1.10-1.87) and comorbidities measured by cumulative illness rating scale (CIRS) (OR=1.08, 95% CI=1.03-1.12) were significantly associated with the use of OTC drugs in the elderly living alone.
Depression and severity of underlying medical conditions could be a predictor of the use of OTC drugs in the elderly living alone. The clinicians should be vigilant regarding the potential use of nonprescription medications in the elderly.


Over-the-counter drugs; Nonprescription medications; Elderly living alone; Polypharmacy
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