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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


VARGAS-CHAVES, Carolina  and  SAENZ-CAMPOS, Desirée. Analysis of drug use by elderly people. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2013, vol.55, n.4, pp.169-175. ISSN 0001-6002.

Background: Elderly patients are exposed to multiple drug prescriptions, face difficulty in following the schedules and store drugs within their homes; all of which leads to misuse of such drugs with high health risks. The study´s aim was to analyze household use of drugs by patients older than 65 years that live in Pavas. Methods: An analytical study, with a randomized sample consisting of 40 elderly patients (32 females and 8 males) older than 65 years which, at the time of the study, used 5 or more drugs; double household visits, a structured interview and the Morisky-Green test; descriptive statistical analysis. Results: In the case of 100% of males and 70% of females, the patients kept their drugs labeled; 55% received some pharmacotherapeutic information and aspirin was the most frequently prescribed drug. The skills assessed for self-administration of medication where adequate in 75% of female and in 50% of male patients. It was possible to establish through direct accounts that 9% of female and 37% of male patients would have good compliance of the prescription. Regarding self-evaluation, 28% of female and 25% of male patients reported high compliance; 69% and 63%, respectively, reported it as moderate; 13% of female and 12% of male patients reported low compliance. In the case of 85% of females and 63% of males, the patients took doses below those prescribed by their physicians and stored a greater amount of drugs. The main storage area was the bedroom, followed by the kitchen Conclusions: Household use of drugs should improve, benefiting from the fact that elderly patients are capable of handling their own medication. Nonetheless, they require more information, intervention and supervision to ensure conformity with good practices.

Keywords : elderly; drugs; drug use; self-administration.

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