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International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 818–825 | Cite as

The “iatrogenic triad”: polypharmacy, drug–drug interactions, and potentially inappropriate medications in older adults

  • Priscila Horta Novaes
  • Danielle Teles da Cruz
  • Alessandra Lamas Granero Lucchetti
  • Isabel Cristina Gonçalves Leite
  • Giancarlo LucchettiEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

Background The elderly population is often in continuous use of several medications and is more subject to the “iatrogenic triad” of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication use and drug–drug interactions. However, few studies have investigated these three factors concomitantly. Purpose To assess the prevalence and inter-relationship of potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, polypharmacy and drug–drug interactions in older adults, together with their associated factors. Setting city of Juiz de Fora, Brazil. Methods a cross-sectional, observational and door-to-door epidemiologic study in community-dwelling older adults was conducted. Main outcome measure The primary outcomes were polypharmacy, inappropriate medication use (2012 Beers and 2015 STOPP criteria) and drug–drug interactions. Associated factors were also investigated using bivariate and multivariate analyses. Results a total of 368 (92%) older adults were in continuous use of at least one drug. There was a high prevalence of polypharmacy (44.6%), drug–drug interaction (72.3%) and PIMs by Beers (42.1%) and PIMs by STOPP (46.2%). Analysis of the inter-relationship of the criteria (polypharmacy, PIMs STOPP and drug–drug interactions) revealed that 108 (29.3%) of the older adults had all three criteria concomitantly and multivariate analysis showed that frailty and having a caregiver were associated with this “iatrogenic triad”. Conclusion A high prevalence of iatrogenic effects from drugs was found in the older adults assessed. One in every three elderly participants of the study had all three iatrogenic criteria concomitantly, highlighting the major public health impact of this problem. The results of this study can serve to inform new preventive and educational strategies for health professionals.

Keywords

Brazil Drug interactions Inappropriate prescribing Polypharmacy 

Notes

Funding

None.

Conflicts of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priscila Horta Novaes
    • 1
  • Danielle Teles da Cruz
    • 1
  • Alessandra Lamas Granero Lucchetti
    • 1
  • Isabel Cristina Gonçalves Leite
    • 1
  • Giancarlo Lucchetti
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of MedicineFederal University of Juiz de ForaJuiz de ForaBrazil

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