The use of nonprescription medicines among elderly patients with chronic illness and their need for pharmacist intervention
Guirguis, K, The use of nonprescription medicines among elderly patients with chronic illness and their need for pharmacist intervention, The Consultant Pharmacist, 25, (7) pp. 433-439. ISSN 0888-5109 (2010) [Refereed Article]
Objective: The use of over-the-counter (OTC) products and
complementary medicines (CM) often results in adverse
events. Little is known about the type of pharmacist interventions
needed by elderly patients to optimize their use of such
products. This study examines the prevalence of OTC/CM
products used among chronically ill elderly patients and the
types of pharmacist interventions the patients need. Gender
differences were also investigated.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Homes of 51 patients recruited from a major
metropolitan hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
Patients: Fifty-one elderly patients with chronic illness referred
to the Outreach Medication Review program.
Intervention: Pharmacists’ interventions to optimize the use
of OTC/CM products.
Main Outcome Measures: Number of OTC/CM products
used and the number and type of pharmacists’ interventions.
Results: 80.4% of patients were using OTC products, while
21.6% used CM products. Many OTC products were not
used at the right dose, requiring pharmacists to adjust the
dose in 18.7% of cases. Other patients (18.8%) were
unaware of dosing regimens, while about one-third of
patients needed to be educated on managing the ailment
that required their use of the OTC/CM product in the first
place. Men showed a nonsignificant increase in their need
for pharmacist interventions.
Conclusion: Elderly patients in this study used OTC/CM
products, often without a proper understanding of the management
principles of their condition or the dosing regimens
of the products they use. Men may need more pharmacist
interventions in relation to their use of OTC/CM products.
Pharmacists should offer comprehensive advice on managing
presenting ailments and requests for OTC/CM products.
Abbreviations: CM = Complementary medicine, NSAID =
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, OMR = Outreach
Medication Review, OTC = Over the counter.
Aging, Complementary medicines, Elderly, Gender, Over the counter, Pharmacist intervention