Lookup NU author(s): Professor Fiona Matthews
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Background Medical practice has changed over the last decades reflecting the ageing population, when multi-morbidity requiring multiple medications is more common. Objective Describe and quantify self-reported medicine use including both prescription and over the counter medicines in two comparable population-based studies of older people (65+) in England and to assess the nature and scale of polypharmacy. Methods Data used were from two separate population-based studies; the Cognitive Function Ageing Study I and II. Descriptive analyses were performed to summarize and quantify general medicine use. Negative binomial regression models were fitted to determine factors associated with the number of medicines used. Results Medication use, including both prescribed medicines and over the counter products has increased dramatically over the last two decades. The number of people taking 5 or more items quadrupled from 12% to 49%, while the proportion of people who did not take any medication has decreased from around 1 in 5 to 1 in 13. Cardiovascular drugs were the most frequently taken medication. Polypharmacy is associated with increases in the number of diagnosed long term conditions. Conclusions Comparison between CFAS I and II reveals marked increases in medication usage and polypharmacy in the older population. The influence of healthcare organisation, introduction of new guidelines and technology changes leading to diagnosis of earlier, milder chronic diseases and treatment may be contributing to this changing pattern. Further research is needed to develop practical solutions to optimise medication management in older people, reducing the harming associated with medication.
Author(s): Gao L, Maidment I, Matthews FE, Brayne C, CFAS
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Age and Ageing
Print publication date: 01/03/2018
Online publication date: 26/09/2017
Acceptance date: 08/08/2017
ISSN (print): 0002-0729
ISSN (electronic): 1468-2834
Publisher: Oxford University Press
PubMed id: 29036509
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