Older Aussies use more multiple meds

The snapshot study of people aged 50 or over found more medicines were being taken more often than had been previously reported.

In the 24 hours prior to the national survey, 87.1% of the 1400 participants reported taking one or more medicines and 43.3% had taken five medicines or more.

The increase, the University of Melbourne researchers said, was due to an increase in the use of medicines to prevent future disease by influencing risk factors, rather than treating current disease.

The last survey had been reported in the 1995 National Health Survey.

Lipid-lowering medication was taken by 30% of participants, when complementary medicines were used by 46.3%.

The most commonly used medicines were antihypertensives, natural marine and animal products such as fish oil and glucosamine and lipid-lowering agents.

Researcher Associate Professor Marie Pirotta, from the University of Melbourne, said the trend toward preventive