Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Acad Emerg Med. 2010 Mar;17(3):231-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00667.x.

Potentially inappropriate medication utilization in the emergency department visits by older adults: analysis from a nationally representative sample.

Author information

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, the University of Michigan Medical School, and the Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.



The objectives were to determine the frequency of administration of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) to older emergency department (ED) patients and to examine recent trends in the rates of PIM usage.


The data examined during the study were obtained from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). This study utilized the nationally representative ED data from 2000-2006 NHAMCS surveys. Our sample included older adults (age 65 years and greater) who were treated in the ED and discharged home. Estimated frequencies of PIM-associated ED visits were calculated. A multivariable logistic regression model was created to assess demographic, clinical, and hospital factors associated with PIM administration and to assess temporal trends.


Approximately 19.5 million patients, or 16.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]=16.1% to 17.4%) of eligible ED visits, were associated with one or more PIMs. The five most common PIMs were promethazine, ketorolac, propoxyphene, meperidine, and diphenhydramine. The total number of medications prescribed or administered during the ED visit was most strongly associated with PIM use. Other covariates associated with PIM use included rural location outside of the Northeast, being seen by a staff physician only (and not by a resident or intern), presenting with an injury, and the combination of female sex and age 65-74 years. There was a small but significant decrease in the proportion of visits associated with a PIM over the study period.


Potentially inappropriate medication administration in the ED remains common. Given rising concerns about preventable complications of medical care, this area may be of high priority for intervention. Substantial regional and hospital type (teaching versus nonteaching) variability appears to exist.

Copyright (c) 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Blackwell Publishing
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk