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Drug interactions in hospitalized elderly patients

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Author(s): Juliana Locatelli

Journal: Einstein
ISSN 1679-4508

Volume: 5;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 343;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Aged | Health of the elderly | Drug interactions | Inpatients

ABSTRACT
Objective: To assess the prevalence of drug interactions in elderlyinpatients and to describe the most prevalent interactions. Methods:A retrospective study was conducted in 155 elderly inpatients enrolledin the Clinical Pharmacy program at the elderly-care unit of theHospital Israelita Albert Einstein from January 2006 to January 2007.Interactions were classified according to severity using Micromedex®.Results: A total of 705 potential drug interactions were found, withapproximately 4 interactions per patient. According to severity, 201(28%) were major severities and 504 (72%) were of moderate severity.Among these 705 interactions, 444 were selected according to theirresulting effect including 161 (36%) had increased risk of bleeding, 78(18%) hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, 50 (11%) cardiotoxicity, 46(10%) digitalis toxicity, 40 (9%) phenytoin toxicity, 31 (7%) additiverespiratory depression, 20 (5%) hyperkalemia, 18 (4%) decreasedlevothyroxine absorption. Conclusion: The high drug interactionrate found in this study shows the relevance of this issue amongelderly inpatients and the need to assess and monitor drug therapyin the elderly to prevent and reduce consequences of potential druginteraction effects.

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