Pharmaceutical News
40% elderly patients with chronic conditions at risk of inappropriate medication

Reported by Lo Chen from Taipei

According to a study in Taiwan, over 40% of patients aged over 65 with chronic conditions are at risk of inappropriate medication.  The study shows that 37% patients are exposed to polypharmacy.  Pharmacists suggest that patients, if in doubt of their medications, should visit their community pharmacies and use the NHI IC card to check their medication records in the past three month.

A study of the “medicines prescribed to the elderly patients” was conducted on 12,000 patients aged over 65.  The results show that 40% are at risk of inappropriate medication, for example, some medicines are not suitable for patients over 65 or for certain groups.  The study also reveals that 37% of the prescriptions involve duplicate medications; and 22% of the prescriptions involve drug interaction. 

The study was conducted by Liu Liang-Jun, the standing director of the Kaohsiung City Pharmacist Association.  Liu pointed out that it is quite difficult for doctors to fully understand a patient’s conditions, lifestyle and medication habits because of limited consultation time. Also, patients may receive medicines from various medical departments hence increase the risk of drug interaction.   

Liu suggested that patients with chronic conditions should consult their medication with doctors and community pharmacists and adjust the doses or replace some prescription drugs accordingly.

Dai Xuei-Yung, the Section Chief of the Pharmaceutical Products Division of the NHIA, expressed that sedatives are the most common products subject to duplicate prescriptions (1.54%), followed by antipsychotic agents (0.52%).  In order to protect patients’ medication safety, the NHIA introduced a cloud-based medication record system to provide doctors with cross-departmental access to patients’ medication records so as to avoid polypharmacy.  

【2017-11-15/ United Daily】