New research suggests half of older patients are exposed to potentially inappropriate prescribing, with hospital admissions identified as an important driver of inappropriate prescribing, overuse and/or misuse of medicines.
The study, published in the BMJ, analysed data on 38,229 patients from 44 general practices in Ireland from 2012 to 2015. Each year, between 10.4 and 15 per cent of patients had at least one hospital admission. Rates of potentially inappropriate prescribing were assessed using 45 criteria from the Screening Tool for Older Persons' Prescription (STOPP).
The study found the overall prevalence of potentially inappropriate prescribing ranged from 45.3 per cent of patients in 2012 to 51.0 per cent in 2015. Hospital admission was independently associated with potentially inappropriate prescribing. Among participants with at least one hospital admission in a year, the risk of having any potentially inappropriate prescription increased by 72 per cent after admission to hospital.
The authors said that while hospital admissions have the potential to improve medication management, the findings suggest these possible benefits are not being realised. "Identifying optimal management strategies for older people is vital to ensure that the risk of inappropriate drugs is minimised after transitions of care," they concluded.