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Ann Geriatr Med Res > Volume 16(3); 2012 > Article
Journal of the Korean Geriatrics Society 2012;16(3):133-140.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4235/jkgs.2012.16.3.133    Published online September 30, 2012.
Polypharmacy in Older Patients Admitted to a General Hospital
Duck Sung Seo, Jong Lull Yoon, Sung Jae Kim, Ji Sang Park, Wha Jin Lee, Mee Young Kim
1Department of Family Medicine, Hallym University Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea. lull@hallym.ac.kr
2Department of Family Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea.
종합병원 입원 노인환자들의 입원 직전 다약제 복용 실태와 시사점
서덕성1, 윤종률1,2, 김성재1, 박지상4, 이화진1, 김미영1,2
한림대학교의과대학 가정의학교실1, 한림대학교 한강성심병원 가정의학과2
The elderly population is rapidly growing in numbers in Korea. According to the high prevalence of chronic disease in older persons, the issue of polypharmacy becomes one of the main problems in geriatric care. In this study, we tried to investigate the current status of inappropriate multiple drug prescriptions in older patients who were admitted to general hospital.
From July 1st 2010 to July 31th 2010, a total of 163 patients of 65 years of age or over who were admitted to one general hospital were investigated. Subjects were examined with a structured questionnaire survey. They were reviewed with medical records, and all medications taken by patients were analyzed. Inappropriate prescriptions were evaluated by Beers criteria and drug-drug interactions guidelines.
Among the 163 participants, 146 patients took daily medication in the previous week, and the average numbers of pills taken by these patients were 7.95. 24 cases (16.4%) of inappropriate prescriptions were identified by Beers criteria, and 19 cases (13.0%) manifested a potential risk for drug-drug interaction. A total 7 cases (4.8%) of overlapping prescription of similar efficacy were also identified. Also, the risk of inappropriate prescription increased, when older patients visited 2 or more physicians (p<0.01).
A considerable number of cases of prescriptions probable to cause adverse events in older patients were identified, which suggests physicians need to be thoughtful and alert for the harmful effects of polypharmacy, and the necessity of a well-structured drug monitoring system for older persons. A dedicated personal physician system for older patients should also be considered, to reduce inappropriate prescriptions.
Key Words: Elderly, Polypharmacy, Drug interaction, Beers criteria

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