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Author: CARDI
Published on 06 April 2011 02:30 PM

Seven out of ten older people in nursing homes in Ireland are getting at least one inappropriately prescribed medicine, according to a study launched today.

A cross-border research team led by Dr Stephen Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy at University College Cork, found that 630 older people in long-term care in Northern Ireland and the Cork area were receiving an average of 11 medicines each. Half of them were prescribed 8-14 daily medicines each.
The research, which was funded by the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI), found that in nursing homes in the Republic of Ireland, 73 per cent of residents were receiving at least one potentially inappropriate medicine. In Northern Ireland 67 per cent of those in the sample were receiving a potentially inappropriate medicine. Overall, nearly one fifth (19 per cent) of the sample were receiving three or more potentially inappropriate medicines.
Commenting on the research, Dr Roger O’Sullivan, Director of CARDI said: “We are delighted to have supported this research and to publish it on the eve of World Health Day. It has come up with unambiguous findings on a subject of great importance for older people.”
Dr Stephen Byrne said that inappropriate prescribing is a global problem and internationally research has demonstrated this problem in all healthcare sectors from primary care to secondary care and in long term care facilities.
“Potentially inappropriate prescribing can lead to both minor and serious adverse drug events for older people. One of the most common instances is the risk of falls and fractures, leading to extended hospitalisation.
 “Tomorrow is World Health Day and the administrations in Ireland, North and South, could make a valuable contribution by announcing decisive action to reduce potentially inappropriate prescribing.
“This could include protocol driven medication reviews to ensure that pharmacists, GPs, consultants and nurses work closely with one another and with older people and their relatives to ensure patients receive the medicines they need. The issues surrounding potentially inappropriate prescribing can only be managed through a multidisciplinary approach," Dr Byrne added.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575