Inappropriate prescribing, non-adherence to long-term medications and related morbidities Pharmacoepidemiological aspects
Abstract: Background: Inappropriate use of medications (IUM), in particular inappropriate prescribing and non-adherence to prescribed medications, are important causes of drug-related morbidities (DRMs). They are increasing problems with the ageing populations and the growing burden of chronic conditions. However, research is needed on the association of IUMs with DRMs in outpatient settings and in the general population.Aim: The aim of this thesis is to estimate and analyse the burden of potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIPs) in the elderly and non-adherence to long-term medications among adults across care settings, and to investigate how IUM is associated to DRMs.Methods: A meta-analysis summarised the previous evidence on the percentage of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) associated to IUM across healthcare settings (Study I). From a cohort in the general population, using medical records and register data, the prevalence of PIPs in the elderly and its association with ADRs were estimated retrospectively (Study II). From the same cohort, the factors associated with refill non-adherence to antihypertensive therapy, considering the use of multiple medications, and the association between non-adherence and sub-therapeutic effects (STEs) were investigated (Study III). A survey assessed the refill behaviour to antihypertensive, lipid lowering and oral antidiabetic medications (undersupply, adequate supply and oversupply), and its association with perceived ADRs and STEs (Study IV).Results: IUM was the cause 52% and 45% of ADRs occurring in adult outpatients and inpatients respectively. Across healthcare settings, 46% of the elderly refilled PIPs over a 6-month period; PIPs were considered the cause of 30% of all ADRs; and the elderly who were prescribed PIPs had increased odds to experience ADRs (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.65-3.69). In total, 35% was nonadherent to the full multidrug therapy and 13% was non-adherent to any medication (complete non-adherence). Sociodemographic factors (working age and lower income) were associated with non-adherence to any medication, while clinical factors (use of specialised care, use of multiple medications, and being a new user) with non-adherence to the full multidrug therapy. STEs were associated with non-adherence to any medication a month prior to a healthcare visit (OR 3.27, 95% CI 1.27-8.49), but not with long-term measures of non-adherence. Among survey respondents, 22% of the medications were oversupplied and 12% were undersupplied. Inadequate refill behaviour was not associated with reporting ADRs or STEs (p<0.05).Conclusions: A large proportion of ADRs occurring in hospital is caused by IUM, but more knowledge is needed in other settings. PIPs are common in the elderly general population and associated with ADRs. Therefore decreasing PIPs could contribute towards ADR prevention. Considering the use of multiple medications may help to better understand the factors associated with non-adherence to a multidrug therapy for tailoring the interventions to patient needs. Monitoring the adherence prior to a healthcare visit may facilitate interpreting STEs. Yet, the absence of an association between long-term measures of refill non-adherence with clinical and perceived DRMs suggest the need to enhance the knowledge of this association in clinical practice. In summary, this thesis shows a significant potential for improvements of medication use and outcomes.
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