Elderly patients 72% more likely to get inappropriate prescription following hospitalisation

Older patients who were hospitalised were 72% more likely to be given a potentially inappropriate prescription after hospital admission, according to new research.

Elderly patients 72% more likely to get inappropriate prescription following hospitalisation

Older patients who were hospitalised were 72% more likely to be given a potentially inappropriate prescription after hospital admission, according to new research.

The study, published in the current edition of The BMJ, involved researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) reviewing general practice records of 38,229 patients, aged 65 or over, from 2012 to 2015.

They then assessed the records using 45 criteria from the Screening Tool for Older Persons’ Prescription (STOPP) to see if they were potentially inappropriate.

It found that potentially inappropriate prescribing was becoming increasingly prevalent in older people, and hospitalisation is independently associated with an increased risk of it occurring.

According to the study, when compared to older people who had not been hospitalised in the past year, the probability of at least one potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) event during a year increases by 49% for hospitalised patients after adjusting for other factors, such as the number of prescriptions and type of healthcare cover.

The research, titled 'Prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing in older people in primary care and its association with hospital admission: a longitudinal study', was conducted by the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research based in the Department of General Practice at RCSI.

Senior research fellow with the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI Dr Frank Moriarty said: “Our study illustrates the need to consider and address potential adverse effects of hospitalisation on prescribing appropriate medication for older patients.”

He said there was the potential for other variables that could help explain the results, but added: “However, many of the common criteria in our study relate to inappropriate duration of use for medicines used for sleep, acid suppression, and anti-inflammatory effect," he said.

"Documenting and clearly communicating the intended prescription duration or planned review date would ensure that other clinicians, such as GPs, would have complete information for reviewing and stopping such prescriptions."

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