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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


JIMENEZ HERRERA, Luis Guillermo  and  FERNANDEZ ROJAS, Xinia. Characterization of medication use in the eldery, Costa Rica 2007. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.17, n.33, pp.47-55. ISSN 1409-1429.

The use of medication is a complex process and the elderly tend to have a greater number of diseases and medicines, which complicates their rational, adequate and safe use. By means of the Costa Rican Study (first round) on Longevity and Health Aging (CRELES) data base, medication use was characterized in this population and some associate determining factors were identified. 79% of the elderly population consumes medications, mainly (87%) from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Most (58%) were women, residing in the Greater Metropolitan Area. According to self-reports of illness, the main therapeutic drugs were anti-hypertensives (18%), anti-thrombolytics (11%), diuretics (8%), anti-diabetics (7%), and cholesterol-lowering drugs (6%). 40% of the people use a range of 1-3 medications and the rest use a range of 4-17 medications. The largest percentage of all medication use groups, coming from the public/private services, is in the 70-79 age range. Discontinue of medication was due to personal preferences (54%), adverse effects (29%), unavailability of medication (8%), and high price (7%). As age increses there is a higher probability of domestic medical attention, higher use of allopathic medicine and natural or homeopathic remedies, which is favored is the person is female (1,7 times), has hypertension (4,9 times), suffers diabetes (2,3 times), or has a heart condition without previous infarction (1,3 times). These elements can help establish strategies in aspects that relate to health service provision in the elderly.

Keywords : CRELES (Costa Rican Study on Longevity and Healthy Aging); use; medicines; medication; elderly; Costa Rica.

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