A behavioral perspective to determine appropriate prescription and over-the-counter medication utilization in a selected elderly population Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/79408138s

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  • This study examined the behaviors relating to the utilization of prescription and over-the-counter medications in a small group of elderly subjects in the 65 years and over age range. This group was attending an Elderhostel at Western Oregon State College during the summer of 1991, when the information was obtained. The objectives of this study were to ascertain specific medication taking behaviors, and whether or not directions were adhered to as prescribed by physicians for this highly educated group, or if their behaviors were similar to those referred to in the literature for all elderly. A sample of 38 elderly was obtained during an Elderhostel Wellness Vacation at Western Oregon State College in Monmouth, Oregon during July, 1991. Subjects completed questionnaires regarding medication-taking behaviors as part of a wellness class session regarding the safe use of medications. Questionnaires were filled out prior to the class discussion. Data were assembled using one survey instrument with questions relating to medication usage. Descriptive statistics using histograms showing frequency distributions were used for data analysis. Sixty-five percent of this group were taking prescription medications and sixty-eight percent of this group were taking over-the-counter medications. Medications were being obtained from more than one physician and more than one pharmacy. The subjects took fewer doses of medications per day and less medication per dose than prescribed. Medications were discontinued prematurely if feeling better or worse. Leftover medications from previous prescriptions were being taken. Outdated or expired medications were being taken. Alcoholic beverages were being used in conjunction with the use of prescription medications. In some cases, prescriptions were not filled because they were considered to be unnecessary. Recommendations for education and future research in the problematic area of drug use in the elderly include: 1) More time spent by health care professionals to educate the elderly in the correct and safe use of medications; 2) Community health promotion programs targeted at the well elderly; 3) Personalized "brown bag" medication counselling sessions; 4) Medication education programs at Elderhostels throughout the country; 5) Education programs through the American Association of Retired Persons; and 6) Further studies of larger groups of well-educated, healthy and active elderly.
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