Correlates of prescription and over-the-counter medication usage among older Mexican Americans: the Hispanic EPESE study. Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Oct;46(10):1228-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1998.tb04538.x.


Objectives: To determine the prevalence rates of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication usage among community-dwelling older Mexican Americans.

Design: Cross-sectional survey of a regional probability sample of older Mexican Americans.

Setting: The 1992-1997 Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE), a probability sample of noninstitutionalized Mexican Americans, age 65 and over, living in the five Southwestern states of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and California.

Participants: 2899 persons, age 65 and over, considered Mexican American, using appropriate weighting procedures to produce regional estimates.

Outcome measures: Use of prescription and OTC medication within the last 2 weeks before the survey confirmed by in-home review of medication containers.

Results: Medication users consumed a mean of 2.9 prescription and 1.3 OTC medications. Over half (58.9%, n = 1,798) of the participants used at least one prescribed medication, and 31.3% (n = 847) used at least one OTC medication within the 2 weeks before their participation in the study. Factors associated with both prescription and OTC medication usage were self-perceived health and number of co-morbid conditions. Factors associated only with prescription medication usage included female gender, alcohol usage, ADL dependency, and presence of additional insurance. Structural assimilation was associated only with OTC medication usage.

Conclusions: These data show lower prevalence rates of prescription medication usage among Mexican American older men and lower rates of OTC medication usage in older Mexican Americans of both genders than previously reported in other ethnic groups. This may reflect differences in time and geographic location of the Hispanic EPESE relative to other EPESE studies, ethnic differences in access to care as reflected by insurance in addition to Medicare, ethnic differences in survival, especially among males, or ethnic differences in medication preferences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Prevalence
  • Southwestern United States


  • Nonprescription Drugs