Impact of hospitalisation in an acute medical geriatric unit on potentially inappropriate medication use

Drugs Aging. 2006;23(1):49-59. doi: 10.2165/00002512-200623010-00005.


Background and objective: Potentially inappropriate medication use is a major safety issue in the elderly and may cause a substantial proportion of drug-related hospital admissions. Hospitalisation could result in a change in the quantity and type of drugs, but its effect on potentially inappropriate drug use is still unknown. The aim of this study was to estimate the potentially inappropriate medication prevalence in patients > or =70 years of age at admission to and at discharge from an acute medical geriatric unit, and to identify the factors associated with no longer being a potentially inappropriate drug user at hospital discharge.

Methods: A prospective drug surveillance study was undertaken in 2018 elderly patients (> or =70 years of age) admitted to an acute medical geriatric unit in Limoges University Hospital, France. Prescribing patterns were established at admission and at discharge. Potentially inappropriate medication use was evaluated according to a list derived from the Beers criteria and adapted to French practice. "To be no longer a potentially inappropriate drug user at discharge" was defined as using at least one potentially inappropriate medication at admission and not using it at discharge.

Results: The numbers of drugs used at admission/discharge were 6.2 +/- 3.1/5.4 +/- 2.5. The prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication use decreased from 66% (95% CI 63.8, 68.0) at admission to 43.6% (95% CI 41.3, 45.9) at discharge. At discharge, 535 subjects were no longer potentially inappropriate medication users. Multivariate analysis showed that no longer being a potentially inappropriate medication user was associated with the number of drugs used (4-6 drugs vs < or =3 odds ratio [OR] 1.20; 95% CI 0.86, 1.68; 7-9 drugs vs < or =3 OR 1.37; 95% CI 0.97, 1.93; > or =10 drugs vs < or =3 OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.10, 2.44), age (80-89 years vs 70-79 years OR 1.38; 95% CI 1.03, 1.85; > or =90 years vs 70-79 years OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.22, 2.83), cerebral vasodilator use (OR 2.87; 95% CI 2.31, 3.57), analgesic use (OR 1.54; 95% CI 1.06, 2.25) and concomitant use of psychotropic drugs of the same therapeutic class (OR 1.94; 95% CI 1.29, 2.92).

Conclusion: Hospitalisation in geriatric services results in a reduction in potentially inappropriate medication use. Improved pharmacological education of practitioners, especially with regard to drug adverse effects, is desirable to improve management of geriatric patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Prescriptions* / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • France
  • Hospital Departments
  • Hospitalization* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors* / mortality
  • Medication Errors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Medication Errors* / trends
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations