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Table 2 Frequencies of chronic conditions and drug use among the participating patients (n = 579)

From: Epidemiology and associated factors of polypharmacy in older patients in primary care: a northern Italian cross-sectional study

Chronic conditions
Number of diagnoses (total) Median (IQR) Min Max
 3143 5 (4 – 6) 1 14
Most frequent diagnoses n patients % of participating patients
 Hypertension 490 84.6%
 Arthrosis 266 45.9%
 Diabetes mellitus II 220 38.0%
 Dyslipidaemia 202 34.9%
 Atrial fibrillation 179 30.9%
 Coronary heart disease 175 30.2%
 Osteoporosis 157 27.1%
 Depression 124 21.4%
 Benign prostatic hypertrophy 110 19.0%
 Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease 98 16.9%
 Chronic heart failure 93 16.1%
 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 81 14.0%
 Chronic renal failure 73 12.6%
 Hyperuricaemia / gout 65 11.2%
 Hypothyroidism 64 11.1%
 Insomnia 60 10.4%
 Cerebrovascular disease / dementia 58 (54 + 4) 10.0% (9.3% + 0.7%)
Drug use
Number of drugs (total) Median (IQR) Min Max
 5614 9 (8 – 11) 8 20
Number of drugs per patient n patients % of participating patients
 8 – 9 drugs 330 57.0%
 ≥ 10 drugs 249 43.0%
Most frequently used drug classes per patienta n patients % of participating patients
 ARBs + ACE-inhibitors 481 (251 + 230) 83.1% (43.4% + 39.7%)
 PPIs 320 55.3%
 Statins 319 55.1%
 Platelet-aggregation inhibitors 311 53.7%
 Beta-blockers 306 52.8%
 Minor diuretics (predominantly hydrochlorothiazide) 273 47.2%
 CCBs 248 42.8%
 Loop diuretics (predominantly Furosemide) 244 42.1%
 Vitamins (predominantly vit. D) 227 39.2%
 Antidepressants + antipsychotics 215 37.1%
 Oral anticoagulants 190 32.8%
 Anxiolytics/hypnotics (Benzodiazepines + Zolpidem) 173 29.9%
 Dietary supplements (predominantly Calcium) 171 29.5%
 Oral antidiabetic drugs 156 26.9%
 Antiasthmatic agents incl. Beta-adrenergics + anticholinergics 134 23.1%
 Opioids 127 21.9%
 Analgesics - Paracetamol 126 21.8%
 Thyroid hormones 114 19.7%
 Corticosteroids 106 18.3%
 NSAIDs + COX-2-inhibitors (Coxibe) 88 15.2%
  1. IQR Interquartile range, Min Minimum, Max Maximum, COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ARBs Angiotensin II receptor antagonists, ACE Angiotensin converting enzyme, PPIs Proton pump inhibitors, CCBs Calcium channel blockers, NSAIDs Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX Cyclooxygenase
  2. a If one patient was assuming two active agents from the same drug class, this was counted as one drug class