Polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy in octogenarians and older acutely hospitalized patients.
Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2014 Apr;126(7-8):195-200
Authors: Strehblow C, Smeikal M, Fasching P
AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy in very old hospitalized patients based on their comorbidities.
METHODS: The documentation of patients aged 80 years or older admitted to our department in the year 2010 was analyzed. Based on the Charlson index of comorbidity, a multiple logistic regression model with stepwise backward elimination was performed. Patients were stratified by gender and four age-groups, and factors of a change in the number of medications during the hospital stay were assessed.
RESULTS: Chronic pulmonary disease [odds ratio (OR): 2.40], diabetes mellitus with (OR: 4.65) or without (OR: 1.65) microvascular complications, congestive heart failure (OR: 2.37), connective tissue disease (OR: 3.02), and peripheral vascular disease (OR: 2.30) were statistically significantly associated with polypharmacy, while some of these diseases were also associated with excessive polypharmacy. The number of medications showed a gradual decrease with age, which was concordant with a decrease in total Charlson index score. "Admission for myocardial infarction" was associated with an increase in pharmaceuticals during hospital stay, whereas a known diagnosis of dementia or metastatic malignant disease was protective against a further increase in medications.
CONCLUSIONS: Several medical conditions seem to predispose to polypharmacy in very old patients. To attain old age seems to be associated with few comorbidities, which reduces the need for a high number of pharmaceuticals. Physicians should pay attention to the identified predictors in very old patients, as polypharmacy may lead to adverse events and unnecessary hospitalization.
PMID: 24445522 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]