Author(s): Linnebur SA, Vande Griend JP, Metz KR, Hosokawa PW, Hirsch JD,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Polypharmacy and medication adherence are well known challenges facing older adults. Medication regimen complexity increases the demands of self-care in the home. Some medication regimens may be more complex than others, especially when dosage form, frequency of dosing, and additional usage directions are included in complexity along with the number of medications In older adults with depression, it is unknown what features of their medications most influence their medication regimen complexity. METHODS: A sample cohort of 100 adults ≥65 years old with a diagnosis of depression was randomly selected from electronic medical records (EMR) in ambulatory clinics at the University of Colorado (CU) and University of San Diego (SD). Demographic, medical history, and medication-related information was extracted from the EMR. Complexity was determined using the Medication Regimen Complexity Index (MRCI). IRB approval was obtained. FINDINGS: The cohort mean age was 74.3 years (SD) and 79.7 years (CU). The mean unweighted Charlson comorbidity index for 1.0 (SD) and 1.8 (CU). The mean number of medications was 7.1 and 8.0, with 1.1 and 1.2 depression meds, 5.4 and 4.3 non-depression prescription meds, and 0.6 and 2.4 OTC meds for the SD and CU cohorts, respectively. 66\% of SD adults and 70\% of CU adults took six or more meds. Individual MRCI scores were on average 17.62 (SD) and 19.36 (CU). Dosing frequency contributed to 57-58\% of the MRCI score, with patients facing an average of 7-8 unique dosing frequencies in their regimen. In both cohorts, there was an average of 3 additional directions added to the regimens to clarify dosing. IMPLICATIONS: As expected, in our older adult cohorts with depression the majority of patients took multiple medications. Using a standardized instrument, we characterized the regimen complexity and found that it was increasingly complex due to numerous dosing forms, frequencies and additional directions for use. Patient-level medication regimen complexity should go beyond depression medication to encompass the patient's entire regimen for opportunities to reduce complexity and improve ease of self-care. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier HS Journals, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Clin Ther
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care