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Keywords:

  • elderly;
  • inappropriate;
  • medication;
  • drugs;
  • prescription;
  • nursing home

Abstract

Purpose

The current use of inappropriate medication in elderly nursing home residents (NHRs) in Germany is unclear. We therefore set out to analyse the frequency and patterns of potentially inappropriate drug prescriptions in elderly NHRs in Germany.

Methods

We utilised prescription data for NHRs 65 years or older from a large German health insurance company during a period of 3 months. Inappropriate drugs were identified from a recently reported French consensus list.

Results

Data for 7271 (83.7%) females and 1414 (16.3%) males were available for analysis. The average age was 83.6 ± 7.3 years. Overall 48 inappropriate drugs were prescribed resulting in a total of 3825 inappropriate drug prescriptions which accounted for 4.3% of all documented prescriptions (n = 88 695). One thousand nine hundred and three (21.9%) residents received at least one inappropriate drug prescription. Using logistic regression we detected no significant influence of gender or level of care on frequency of inappropriate prescriptions. However, age had a significant influence; with increasing age the frequency of residents receiving inappropriate medications decreased steadily (r = −0.92, p = 0.003) and ranged from a maximum of 32.8% in the group between 65 and 69 years to a minimum of 15.2% in residents older than 94 years. This observation was paralleled by a significant and continuous decrease of drug prescription rates with increasing age (r = −0.88, p = 0.009).

Conclusion

The present analysis demonstrates that about one out of five elderly NHRs received at least one inappropriate drug prescription. Additional studies may aim to establish a list of frequently prescribed inappropriate drugs for Germany. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.