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Consult Pharm. 2009 Jun;24(6):439-46.

Racial differences in medication use among older, long-stay Veterans Affairs nursing home care unit patients.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine racial differences in medication use by older long-stay Veterans Affairs Nursing Home Care Unit (NHCU) patients.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal study.

SETTINGS:

133 Veterans Affairs NHCUs.

PARTICIPANTS:

Three thousand four hundred eighty veterans 65 years of age or older admitted between January 1, 2004, and June 30, 2005, for 90 days or more.

MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES:

Prevalence of those taking nine or more medications (i.e., polypharmacy) and medications from specific therapeutic medication classes. Racial differences were determined using 0.05 level chi-squared tests.

RESULTS:

The sample consisted of 14.3% who were black. Blacks compared with whites (all comparisons P < 0.05 except where noted) were younger (13.6% vs. 17.4%, older than 85 years of age), had less depression (22.24 vs. 29.79%), less allergies (9.82% vs. 20.36%), and a similar rate of moderate-to severe pain (22.65% vs. 24.05; P = 0.49). The percent of polypharmacy was similar by race (blacks 74.35% vs. whites 71.18%; P = 0.62), as was the prevalence of medication class use with the exceptions that blacks were less likely than whites to take central nervous system (CNS) medications (75.75% vs. 80.14%; P = 0.02) and antihistamines (13.03% vs. 16.8%; P = 0.04). Specifically, blacks were less likely than whites to receive a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant (20.84% vs. 27.17%; P < 0.01) or a second-generation antihistamine (3.41% vs. 6.51%; P < 0.01), but more likely than whites to receive opioids (14.63% vs. 11.27%; P = 0.03).

CONCLUSION:

There appears to be racial differences in the overall use of antihistamines and CNS medications and some of their subclasses.

PMID:
19555154
PMCID:
PMC2734488
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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