The prescribing of medicines is a fundamental component of care for the elderly; however, there is increasing concern with polypharmacy and its impact on morbidity, mortality and costs. As a result, long-term prescription-medicine use and the prevalence of polypharmacy in the elderly in the Republic of Srpska were analyzed. The findings were subsequently used to suggest potential future measures. A retrospective study of all elderly patients during 2005–2010 stratified by age group (three groups), sex and long-term medicine use was performed. Polypharmacy (five or more medicines) increased from 1.4% of the elderly taking medicines long-term to 3.6% by 2010, with 53.6% of elderly taking two or more medicines long-term. The most prevalent diseases were cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Most prescriptions were in accordance with recent guidelines; however, there was a concern with appreciable prescribing of digoxin and aminophylline. Whilst polypharmacy rates are low in the Republic, the increasing rate is a concern. Further studies are planned.

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Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Marković-Peković, V., Škrbić, R., Petrović, A., Vlahović-Palčevski, V., Mrak, J., Bennie, M., … Godman, B. (2016). Polypharmacy among the elderly in the Republic of Srpska: extent and implications for the future. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research, 16(5), 609–618. doi:10.1586/14737167.2016.1115347