Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
VALDERRAMA GAMA, Emiliana et al. The use of medications among the elderly: results of a population-based study . Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.72, n.3, pp. 209-219. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57271998000300006.
BACKGROUND: To evaluate the magnitude, nature and chronicity of the use of medications on the part of non-institutionalized elderly individuals as well as the complexity of their treatment routine. METHOD: Cross-section study through door-to-door survey of all individuals age 65 or above. Municipality of Villanueva de los Castillejos (Huelva). The surveyor asked the person to show him/her all of the medications he/she was using without overlooking any, recorded the brand name, dosage and frequency with which the medication in question was taken, and the approximate length of time, in months or in years, over which said medication had been taken. Measurement methods were included for the purpose of assessing the complexity of the treatment routine. RESULTS: Information was gathered from 362 subjects (83.8% of the actual population). Of all those surveyed, 83.1% was taking one or more medications daily, for an average (standard deviation) of 2.6 (2.0). Those used most were antihypertensive drugs (41.8%), peripheral vasodilators for circulation to the brain (21.3%), benzodiazepine derivatives (17.4%) and non-steroid antiinflammatory drugs (14.1%). 91.3% and 46.1% of the subjects who were taking medication daily, had been taking one or more drugs for at least 1 and 5 years, respectively. The medication in question was taken on the average of one to two times a day. Approximately 20% of the population surveyed was taking medication solely when certain symptoms arose, and 7.3% of the drugs were prescribed regularly, but not daily. CONCLUSIONS: The quantity and chronicity of the consumption of medications is high, although comparable to that of other Spanish studies conducted employing similar means and methods. The routine prescribed seems simple for seniors.
Keywords : Aged; Chronic disease; Pharmacoepidemiology; Rural population; Prescriptions Drug Therapy; Drug utilization; Compliance.