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Table 7 Summary of the main study findings

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

Drug use 13.4% of patients aged ≥75 years were prescribed ≥8 drugs
Median drug use among the included patients: 9 drugs
Most commonly used drug classes: Angiotensin II receptor antagonists / ACE-inhibitors, protonic pump inhibitors, statins, platelet-aggregation inhibitors, beta-blockers
Chronic conditions 64.9% of the participating patients had ≥5 diagnoses of chronic conditions
Most frequent diagnoses: Arterial hypertension, arthrosis, diabetes mellitus II, dyslipidaemia, atrial fibrillation
PIMs 45.9% of patients were treated with at least one PIM according to the 2012 Beers criteria
Most common PIMs: Benzodiazepines and Zolpidem, NSAIDs / COX-2-inhibitors (Coxibe), antiarrhythmics
DDIs 67.5% of patients were exposed to at least one major DDI
Drug classes most frequently involved in major DDIs: antithrombotic / anticoagulant drugs, antidepressants / antipsychotics, calcium carbonate
Polypharmacy and associated factors Significant correlations (p < 0.05):
• number of drugs – number of major DDIs (Spearman’s rho: 0.33)
• number of drugs – number of chronic conditions (Spearman’s rho: 0.20)
• number of drugs – reduced affective status (Spearman’s rho: 0.12)
• number of drugs – reduced QoL / health status (Spearman’s rho: −0.14)
Conditions associated with higher numbers of drugs:
Arthrosis, diabetes mellitus II, coronary heart disease, COPD
  1. ACE Angiotensin converting enzyme, PIMs Potentially inappropriate medications, NSAIDs Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX Cyclooxygenase, DDIs Drug-drug interactions, QoL Quality of life, COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease