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Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1987 Jun;21(6):530-5.

Drug use in an ambulatory elderly population: a five-year update.


Drug usage was studied in an ambulatory elderly population in Dunedin, Florida. Prescription and nonprescription drug use in these 2834 participants was compared with use during a period five years earlier. The average number of medications increased from 3.2 in 1978-80 to 3.7 in 1983-85. The most commonly prescribed medications in this population were hydrochlorothiazide-triamterene (13.5 percent), digoxin (9.6 percent), and hydrochlorothiazide (8.4 percent). There was a large increase in the use of nutritional supplements in the past five years, with 18.0 percent of these subjects reporting the use of vitamin E and 15.7 percent taking vitamin C. The general philosophy in geriatrics is to use the fewest drugs possible; however, it appears that the elderly are, in fact, receiving an increasing number of medications.

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