Adverse drug reactions (ADR) in elderly people, which have been shown to increase with age, are often attributed to functional decline and polypharmacy. A multi-institutional retrospective survey was undertaken to investigate the current status of ADR in geriatric wards of university hospitals. The inpatient database from 2000 to 2002 in 5 university hospitals was studied, and a total of 1,289 patients were analyzed. The incidence of ADR, as determined by attending physicians, was 9.2% on the whole but varied from 6.3% to 15.8% among the institutions. The factors significantly related to ADR were number of diagnoses, number of geriatric syndromes, number of prescribed drugs, increase of more than two drugs during admission, longer hospital stay, emergency admission, depression and apathy. These results are mostly consistent with previous reports and will provide important information on pharmacotherapy in elderly people.
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