Program

PO1-13-14

RECORDING POLYPHARMACY IN GREECE: Collection of data from electronic bases and directly from the patients

[Speaker] Paraskevi Papaioannidou:1
[Co-author] Maria Michailidou:1
1:1st Department of Pharmacology, Medical School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Background: In a previous work we have studied Polypharmacy among older people in Greece, using data of the new Electronic Health Records, and we found lower percentages of Polypharmacy in Greece, compared to other European countries. This finding may be attributed to limitations in the Electronic Health Records and to restrictions in reimbursement due to the economic crisis in Greece. In order to avoid these limitations, we decided to collect data not only from the Electronic Health Records but also from real medication sales and by interrogating the patients.

Methods: The sample was collected using the new Electronic Health Records that have been applied in the last years in Greece. All prescriptions concerning patients older than 65 years and dispensed during April 2017 in a pharmacy store of western Thessaloniki were used. In order to include non prescribed medications, we kept a record of medications bought by the patients without prescription, and we also asked the patients directly about the use of other medications.

Results: Out of 800 prescriptions we collected 440 prescriptions concerning 210 patients older than 65 years. Polypharmacy (≥ 5 medications) was observed in 55% of the patients. The most commonly used medication groups were cardiovascular, analgesic, hypolipidemic, antiulcer, anticoagulant / antiplatelet, and antidiabetic medications. Some of these medications were not included in prescriptions, as they are not reimbursed by the National Health System (NHS). Even medicines reimbursed by the NHS were not included in prescriptions, either because they are cheap and can be bought without prescription or because patients can't afford going to doctor, due to the financial crisis.

Conclusions: Polypharmacy is common among older people in Greece, with 55% of them using 5 or more medications. Polypharmacy appears to be much lower (28%) according to the data of the new Electronic Health Records. This finding may be attributed to limitations in the Electronic Health Records, and to restrictions in reimbursement due to the financial crisis in Greece. In order to record actual polypharmacy, apart from the Electronic Health Records, it is necessary to collect data directly from the patients.

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