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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2009 Aug;34(4):377-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2009.01021.x.

Potentially severe drug interactions in elderly outpatients: results of an observational study of an administrative prescription database.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Quality Assessment of Geriatric Therapies and Services, and Drug Information Services for the Elderly, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Milano, Italy. nobili@marionegri.it

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To estimate the prevalence of potentially severe drug-drug interactions (DDIs) and their relationship with age, sex and number of prescribed drugs.

METHODS:

We analysed all prescriptions dispensed from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2003 to individuals aged 65 or more registered under the Local Health Authority of Lecco, a northern Italian province with a population of almost 330 000 persons. Elderly who received at least two co-administered prescriptions were selected to assess the presence of DDIs.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of potentially severe DDIs was 16%, and rose with increasing patient's age and number of drugs prescribed. At multivariate analysis, the adjusted odds ratios rose from 1.07 (95% CI 1.03-1.11) in patients aged 70-74 to 1.52 (95% CI 1.46-1.60) in those aged 85 or older. Elderly taking more than five drugs on a chronic basis had a statistically significant higher risk of sever DDIs than those receiving less than 3 or 3-5 such drugs.

CONCLUSIONS:

The elderly constitutes a population at high risk of DDIs. As physicians still have some difficulty in managing this problem, it is essential to highlight for them, which factors raise the risk of DDIs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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