More older patients on multiple meds: survey

The study of 1608 Australians older than 50, carried out by the NPS in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, found 87.1% of respondents had taken some form of medication in the previous 24 hours, and 42.9% were taking multiple medication. Respondents were surveyed between June 2009 and February 2010.

Two-thirds of participants older than 75 had taken more than five medications that day, while almost half those aged 65–74 and a third of those aged 50–64 had taken five medications, according to the paper, published in this week’s MJA.

Researchers said medications were increasingly for preventive purposes rather than to treat illness with the most common medicines used being antihypertensive agents for blood pressure, natural animal products like fish oil, and lipid-lowering agents for high cholesterol.

Almost a third of respondents had taken cholesterol-lowering medication on the day of the survey, while 46.3%