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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311X

Abstract

SILVA, Anderson Lourenço da; RIBEIRO, Andréia Queiroz; KLEIN, Carlos Henrique  and  ACURCIO, Francisco de Assis. Use of medications by elderly Brazilians according to age: a postal survey. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2012, vol.28, n.6, pp. 1033-1045. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2012000600003.

The objective of this study was to evaluate factors associated with use of medicines by the elderly. A national postal survey was conducted with a random sample of 3,000 elderly individuals selected from the registry of the Brazilian National Social Security Institute. The study estimated the prevalence and average number of medicines used in the 15 days prior to the survey, according to age bracket. Prevalence of use of medication was 83.0%: 78.8% in the 60-69 year bracket and 87.3% in individuals 70 years or older (p < 0.05). Older elders had taken an average of 4.4 drugs, as compared to 3.3 among younger elders. Drugs for the cardiovascular system were the most widely used. Age 70 years and older, female gender, poor self-rated health, interruption of routine daily activities, six or more medical visits in the previous year, private health insurance, and reporting of four or more illnesses were independently associated with use of medications (p < 0.05). The results expand the knowledge on use of medications among elderly Brazilians, emphasizing the need to improve pharmaceutical care focused on this subgroup of the population.

Keywords : Pharmacoepidemiology; Polypharmacy; Drug Utilization; Aged.

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