High risk prescribing in older adults: Prevalence, clinical and economic implications and potential for intervention at the population level

BioMed Central Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Public Health, 2013, 13 (115), pp. 1 - 9
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Background High risk prescribing can compromise independent wellbeing and quality of life in older adults. The aims of this project are to determine the prevalence, risk factors, clinical consequences, and costs of high risk prescribing, and to assess the impact of interventions on high risk prescribing in older people. Methods The proposed project will utilise data from the 45 and Up Study, a large scale cohort of 267,153 men and women aged 45 and over recruited during 20062009 from the state of New South Wales, Australia linked to a range of administrative health datasets. High risk prescribing will be assessed using three indicators: polypharmacy (use of five or more medicines); Beers Criteria (an explicit measure of potentially inappropriate medication use); and Drug Burden Index (a pharmacologic dose-dependent measure of cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medicines). Individual risk factors from the 45 and Up Study questionnaire, and health system characteristics from health datasets that are associated with the likelihood of high risk prescribing will be identified. The main outcome measures will include hospitalisation (first admission to hospital, total days in hospital, cause-specific hospitalisation); admission to institutionalised care; all-cause mortality, and, where possible, cause-specific mortality. Economic costs to the health care system and implications of high risk prescribing will be also investigated. In addition, changes in high risk prescribing will be evaluated in relation to certain routine medicines-related interventions. The statistical analysis will be conducted using standard pharmaco-epidemiological methods including descriptive analysis, univariate and multivariate regression analysis, controlling for relevant confounding factors, using a number of different approaches.
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