Potentially suboptimal prescribing of medicines for older Aboriginal Australians in remote areas

Amy Page, Zoë Hyde, Kate Smith, Christopher Etherton-Beer, David N. Atkinson, Leon Flicker, Linda Skeaf, Roslyn Malay, Dina C. LoGiudice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of polypharmacy, under-prescribing and potentially inappropriate medicine use among Aboriginal Australians living in remote Western Australia. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Six remote communities and the town of Derby in the Kimberley, Western Australia. Participants: Aboriginal people aged 45 years or more with complete medication histories. Main outcome measures: Proportions of patients with medicine histories indicating polypharmacy, potential under-prescribing of indicated medicines, or potentially inappropriate prescribing (including potential prescribing cascades or drug interactions). Results: Complete medicine histories were available for 273 participants. The mean number of prescribed medicines was 5.1 (SD, 3.6). At least one form of suboptimal prescribing was identified for 166 participants (61%), including polypharmacy for 145 (53%), potential under-prescribing of at least one indicated medicine for 33 (12%), and potentially inappropriate prescribing for 54 participants (20%). Potential prescribing cascades or drug interactions were identified for 12 participants (4%). Conclusions: Potentially suboptimal prescribing affected more than half the participating older Aboriginal Australians from the Kimberley. If generalisable to other remote Indigenous Australians, the prevalence of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate prescribing, and under-prescribing of indicated medicines is problematic, and suggests that older Indigenous people in remote areas are at risk of medicine-related harm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119
Number of pages125
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume211
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2019

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