Drugs prescribed for people aged 85 and over living in their own homes in an area of inner London

Felicity J. Smith, Morag Farquhar, Ann P. Bowling

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This study investigated drugs prescribed for people aged 85 and over and living in their own homes in an area of inner London, and explored associations between drug use and other factors including use of general medical practitioner (GP) services, mobility, mortality and self-perceived health. Data were collected by structured interview of 630 participants in their own homes, with a follow-up interview of survivors three years later.

Respondents were taking a mean of 2.2 different drugs; 23 per cent were taking no prescribed drugs and 11 per cent were taking five or more. Of those on two or more drugs, 45 per cent were taking potentially interacting combinations. Although respondents on more drugs were more likely to have seen their GP recently, some on many different drugs had not. Nearly 15 per cent reported some sort of difficulty with their medication.

There was no significant difference between the mean number of drugs prescribed, at the begining of the study, for survivors and for non-survivors. However, there was an inverse relationship between prescribed medication and mobility, self-perceived health and satisfaction with other aspects of life. Very elderly people living in their own homes, like those in institutions, will frequently be on drug regimens that should be monitored regularly for drug-related problems. Because of rising numbers, the provision of a cost-effective service would require the identification of those most likely to experience problems with their medication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1995

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