Non-prescription medicines - the missing pieces of the drug utilization puzzle

Lisa G. Pont, Hanane Jomaa, Gerard Stevens, Andrew J. McLachlan

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: It is well known the medication utilization
increases with age. Medication utilization among
elderly nursing home residents is well studied, however
most studies focus on exploration of prescribed medicines
and do not include non-prescription or complementary
medication utilization.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore utilization
of medications that are available with out a prescription
in an elderly nursing home cohort.

Methods: A cross sectional survey of medication use in
residents (n = 2,585) from 26 aged care facilities in the
greater Sydney region was conduced. Between 30 June
2009 and 31 July 2010. The data source used was
pharmacy supply records containing both prescription
and non-prescription medications. Medications were
classified using the ATC classification and non-prescription
status was determined for each product based
on the current Australian legislation.

Results: Non-prescription medicines were used by the
majority of residents in the study population (90.68%,
n = 2,344). Most residents used multiple non-prescription
products during the 12-month period with a median
of four different non-prescription products per
resident used in the study period. The main non-prescription
products used were paracetamol, laxatives,
calcium and vitamin D containing preparations.

Conclusions: Use of medicines available without a prescription
was high in the aged care setting and should
be included in drug utilization studies. A number of
potential quality use of medicine issues are raised given
the main non-prescription agents used and the indications
they may be used for which may include both
prescription and non prescription medicines in optimal
management. Any assessment of prescribing quality
should take both prescribed and non-prescribed medications
into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number974
Pages (from-to)487-487
Number of pages1
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue numberIssue s1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event29th International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology & Therapeutic Risk Management - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 25 Aug 201328 Aug 2013

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