Polypharmacy in institutionalized elderly in nursing homes of Northern Portugal Conference Paper uri icon


  • The polypharmacy is a growing problem, especially in the elderly population due to chronic diseases requiring the simultaneous use of drugs. This issue has become worse due to the increasing aging of the world population. Objectives: To characterize drug therapy, polypharmacy and possible interactions in institutionalized elderly, as well as polypharmacy associated factors. Methods: This cross-sectional and correlational study, had a sample of 155 elderly (≥65 years) polymedicated (≥3 drugs) and institutionalized in nursing homes in northern Portugal districts (Porto, Vila Real and Viseu). Data were obtained by consulting the clinical files. Beers list and the Delafuente classification were used to evaluate the therapeutic and possible interactions. It was used descriptive statistics, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and ANOVA tests, with a significance level of 5%. Results: The sample consisted mainly of females elderly (69% vs. 31%), aged between 65 and 99 years (mean 83.73), while 34.2% was between 85-89 years old. On average, 6.85 different drugs are administered per day, and antihypertensives are the most prescribed (71.0%). According to the list of Beers, 0.6% of seniors take drugs that should be avoided wherever possible and 10.3% takes drugs rarely appropriate. According Delafuente, we find 13 possible drug interactions. Only age seems to be associated with the number of drugs administered daily (p=0.017), older between 80-84 years are those who consume more. Conclusions: Regarding polypharmacy there was an average of about 7 different drugs per day, antihypertensives the most prescribed. We identified 13 possible drug interactions and about 10% of elderly taking drugs rarely appropriate. Age seems to be associated with polypharmacy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014