Background: Polypharmacy is a significant risk factor for using potentially inappropriate medication (PIM), which is using drugs with more risks than benefits, especially for elders. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of PIM using Beers Criteria, polypharmacy, and their related risk factors.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in West Bank primary health care clinics (PHC)from December 2021 to March 2022. Data were collected from PHC clinic attendees aged 65 and above via an interviewer-administered questionnaire and a review of their medical records. We used the Beers Criteria 2019 update to identify PIM and performed a multivariable analysis to determine its associated factors.
Results: The study included 421 older people (197 men and 224 women) with an average age of 73.6 years. The prevalence of polypharmacy was 75.1% (95%CI: 70.6%-79.1%), with an average of six medications dispensed per patient. On the other hand, PIM was identified among 36.8% of the study participants (CI:95%CI: 32.2%- 41.6%). Sulfonylureas were the most common (24.2%) reported PIM, followed by peripheral alpha-blockers (4.3%), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (3.1%), proton pump inhibitors (2.9%), and central nervous system medications (2.1%). Hyperpolypharmacy (> 10 drugs) [aOR = 4.1, 95%CI: 1.6–10.7], polypharmacy [aOR = 2.8, 95%CI: 1.4–5.4], and Diabetes [aOR = 3.5, 95%CI: 2.0–6.0] are the main associated factors of PIM.
Conclusion: This study found that over one-third of the older people attending PHC clinics have PIM, with polypharmacy and Diabetes being the main predicting variables. Improving physicians’ awareness of clear and specific PIM lists can reduce the number of PIM prescribed and decrease their impact.