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01.04.2016 | main topic | Ausgabe 5-6/2016

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 5-6/2016

Polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication and cognitive status in Austrian nursing home residents: results from the OSiA study

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 5-6/2016
MD Reinhard Alzner, MA Ulrike Bauer, MA Stefan Pitzer, Maria Magdalena Schreier, PhD Jürgen Osterbrink, MD Bernhard Iglseder


There is little research investigating polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) in connection with cognitive status in residents of Austrian nursing homes. Our findings result from a cross-sectional survey of 425 residents (315 women, 110 men, mean 83.6 years) from 12 Austrian nursing homes. The number of systemically administered permanent prescription drugs was 8.99 ± 3.9 and decreased significantly with increasing cognitive impairment. Irrespective of cognitive status, polypharmacy (> 5 individual substances) was present in approximately 75 % of the residents. Hyper-polypharmacy (> 10 individual substances) was present among almost 50 % of the cognitively intact residents, and hence, significantly more frequent as compared with the group with the lowest cognitive performance (23.4 %). At least one PIM was found in 72.4 % of residents regardless of cognitive status. Predominantly, PIMs consisted of tranquilizers, antipsychotics, osmotic laxatives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and anticholinergics, where only the number of NSAIDs decreased significantly with increasing cognitive impairment. In summary, our study shows a continued high prevalence of polypharmacy and PIM in long-term care institutions in Austria.

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