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Indian J Pharmacol. 2017 Jan-Feb;49(1):16-20. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.201036.

Evaluation of polypharmacy and appropriateness of prescription in geriatric patients: A cross-sectional study at a tertiary care hospital.

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Department of Pharmacology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India.



To assess the polypharmacy and appropriateness of prescriptions in geriatric patients in a tertiary care hospital.


An observational study was done in geriatric patients (>60 years) of either gender. The data collected from patients included: Socio-demographic data such as age, gender, marital status, educational status, socioeconomic status, occupation, nutritional status, history of alcohol/smoking, exercise history, details of comorbid diseases, medication history, findings of clinical examination etc. In this study, polypharmacy was considered as having 5 or more medications per prescription. Medication appropriateness for each patient was analysed separately based on their medical history and clinical findings by applying medication appropriateness index, screening tool to alert to right treatment (START) and Beers criteria and STOPP criteria.


A total of 426 patients, 216 (50.7%) were males and 210 (49.3%) were females. Polypharmacy was present in 282 prescriptions (66.2%). Highest prevalence of polypharmacy was seen in 70-79 years age group compared to the other two groups and it was statistically significant. Out of 426 patients, 36 patients were receiving drugs which were to be avoided as per Beers criteria. Among the total patients, 39 patients were overprescribed as per MAI, 56 patients were under prescribed as per START criteria and 85 out of 426 prescriptions were inappropriate in accordance with beers criteria, stop criteria, start criteria and MAI index.


Around 66.19% patients were receiving polypharmacy. Significant number of patients were receiving drugs which are to be avoided as well as overprescribed and under prescribed. Inappropriate prescription was seen in a good number of patients.


Beer's criteria; inappropriate prescription; polypharmacy screening tool of older person's prescriptions criteria; screening tool to alert to right treatment criteria

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