In 2005, the PHEBE study highlighted the problem of polypharmacy and the emerging use of psychotropic medication in nursing home residents (PHEBE 1). In 2011, new collected data were compared (PHEBE 2). The total mean number of prescriptions in PHEBE 1 was 8.4, containing a mean of 7.6 for chronic medication only. For PHEBE 2 this was 8.6 for total and 8.1 for chronic medication. In both investigations (2005-2011, resp.) the main categories were ‘Nervous system’ (88.3-89.2%), followed by ‘Cardiovascular system’ (78.0-84.8%) and ‘Alimentary tract and metabolism’ (81.1-83.2%).
This study found that polypharmacy remains a major problem in residential care. The use of chronic medication further increased with a high consumption of psychotropic medication, beta-blockers and laxatives.