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Rev Saude Publica. 2001 Apr;35(2):207-13.

[Drug prescription from the perspective of elderly patients].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Prática de Saúde Pública, Faculdade de Saúde Pública, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.



Although modern drugs really benefit aged patients, they also entail an increased risk to this population. Elderly people have a particular risk because of using multiple drugs with implies having more adverse reactions. This study aimed to assess elderly patients' relationship with drug prescriptions.


A descriptive study of a qualitative methods was carried out using semi-structured interviews conducted in an intentional sample of 30 elderly patients living in the urban region of Maringá, Brazil, between February 25 and March 22, 1998. Participants were selected from the Co-Participative Pharmacy Database of the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology of the State University of Maringá. The thematic discourse analysis technique was employed for data analysis, using three methodological entities: central idea; key-expressions; and the collective subject's discourse.


The average consumption of drugs by this elderly population was 3.6, within a 1-8 interval. The central ideas found in the collective subjects were as follows: I'm able to take them by myself; somebody helps me; I'll take them later; I never forget; there's a need to see the physician; they have never done any harm to me; I'm used to them; sometimes I read it, sometimes I don't; I always manage to buy them; I have already stopped taking them.


More efficient ways of assessing the willingness of elderly patients of complying with the recommended drug therapy and instituting a better drug therapy follow-up must be investigated Further studies of qualitative cut-off should be carried out to understand better the problem and analyze it in depth.

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