Exploring polypharmacy burden among elderly patients with chronic diseases in Chinese community: a cross-sectional study

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Background: In the long-term use of multiple medications for elderly patients diagnosed with chronic diseases, medication problems are prominent, which seriously reduces their quality of life. The burden of medications of patients critically affects their medication beliefs, behaviors and disease outcomes. It may be a solution to stress the burden of medications of patients. Its medication issues develops a novel perspective. The present study aimed to exploit the Chinese version of Living with Medicines Questionnaire-3(C-LMQ-3) to quantify the medicines burden of elderly patients diagnosed with chronic diseases in China, and evaluate the relevant demographic characteristics of sub-populations with high medicines burden. Methods: The survey was distributed to elderly patients aged ≥ 60 years with chronic disease by using ≥ 5 medicines, C-LMQ-3 scores and domain scores were compared by the characteristics of elderly patients by employing descriptive statistics and performing statistical tests. Results: On the whole, 430 responses were analyzed, and the participants were aged between 60 and 91 years, with the average age of 73.57 years (SD: 7.87). Most of the responses were female (61.7 %) with middle school education (38.5 %). Moreover, 54.1 % of the participants lived with spouse only, 16.2 % had both spouse and children, and 10.0 % lived alone. As indicated from regression analysis, higher C-LMQ-3 scores were associated with those who were with low education level, 60–69 years-old, using ≥ 11 medicines, using medicines ≥ 3 times a day, income per month (RMB) ≤ 3000, and who having higher monthly self-paid medication (RMB) ≥ 300 (p < 0.01). Burden was mainly driven by cost-related burden, concerns about medicines, and the lack of autonomy over medicine regimens. Conclusions: This study presents the preliminary evidence to elderly patients diagnosed with chronic diseases in mainland China that pay attention to multiple medications burden may help reduce the Drug Related Problems, whereas some elderly patients have a higher burden of medication. Chinese health care providers are required to primarily evaluate and highlight such patients, and formulate relevant intervention strategies to ensure medication adherence and daily medication management of elderly patients with polypharmacy.




Wang, Y., Li, X., Jia, D., Lin, B., Fu, B., Qi, B., & Zhang, Z. (2021). Exploring polypharmacy burden among elderly patients with chronic diseases in Chinese community: a cross-sectional study. BMC Geriatrics, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02247-1

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