[Which factors are associated with the use of potentially inadequate medications (PIM) in the elderly? : Results from the German health interview and examination survey (DEGS1)]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2018 Jan;61(1):40-51. doi: 10.1007/s00103-017-2654-2.
[Article in German]


Background: Recent studies demonstrate a relationship between the prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) for patients 65 years or older and an increased risk for adverse events, in particular hospitalisations. The RKI conducted DEGS1-Survey ("German health interview and examination survey for adults") provides a representative sample of the target population to identify determinants for PIM use.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine characteristics of older persons in Germany, who currently use PIM, and if there are subpopulations among older persons with a particularly high PIM use.

Methods: Within the DEGS1-Survey a total of 175 variables regarding health and social aspects were documented from 1392 community-dwelling persons between 65 and 79 years of age, and medication intake during the last seven days was recorded. PIM drugs were identified according to the PRISCUS list. Associations between PIM use and variables recorded were evaluated by means of multivariate statistical models.

Results: Within seven days before the survey PIM drugs were used by 13.0% (95%-CI: 10.7-15.6) of the respondents. The following factors significantly increase the risk for receiving a PIM: number of drugs taken in the last seven days; number of visits to different physician specialists during the last 12 months; sleep disorders; psychiatric condition, and diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system. The majority of PIMs were antidepressants and anxiolytics/sedatives. Elderly women with depression, sleep disorders, and a need for analgesics are particularly affected by increased PIM use. They deserve special attention in this regard.

Keywords: DEGS1 Survey; Multimorbidity; PRISCUS PIM; Polypharmacy; Psychotropic drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • General Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Germany
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Polypharmacy
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index