Polypharmacy, aging and potential drug-drug interactions in outpatients in Taiwan: A retrospective computerized screening study

Chen Fang Lin, Chun Yu Wang, Chyi Huey Bai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Polypharmacy is common in outpatients and has been identified as a major risk factor for drug-drug interactions (DDIs), which are an important cause of adverse drug reactions. There has been a rapid increase in the number of elderly patients worldwide. However, there have been few studies quantifying the impact of both patient age and the number of concomitant drugs prescribed on the probability of potential DDIs per person in general outpatients. Objective: To assess the extent to which polypharmacy and aging are associated with potential DDIs in outpatients at a medical centre in Taiwan. Methods: The medications of 81650 outpatients who visited a medical centre in Taiwan between January 2004 and March 2004 were retrospectively screened for potential DDIs using a computerized drug-interaction program. The main inclusion criteria were a minimum of two drug prescriptions and duration of use of 14 or more days. We also analysed the DDI pattern, which included severity, level of documentation and onset of potential DDIs, and assessed the impact of the number of drugs prescribed and of aging on the prevalence of potential DDIs per person. Results: The prevalence of potential DDIs was 25.6% (20902 of 81650). The mean±SD age of the 20902 patients with potential DDIs was 57.5±16.5 years, and 47.6% of these patients were male. The mean±SD number of prescribed drugs in patients with potential DDIs was 5.8±2.4, and 67.7% of these patients were prescribed more than four drugs. The majority (55.7%) of DDIs were of the C2 pattern (severity: moderate; documentation: probable). The prevalence of potential DDIs increased in a linear mode with increasing age (p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalDrugs and Aging
Volume28
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Drug-utilisation
  • Elderly
  • Prescribing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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