Pharmacy World and Science

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 30–34 | Cite as

Increase in Drug Use After Admission to Dutch Nursing Homes

  • R.T.C.M. Koopmans
  • J.P. van der Borgh
  • J.H.J. Bor
  • Y.A. Hekster


Objective: To study changes in drug use after admission to Dutch nursing homes.Setting. Six nursing homes near the city of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.Design. Prospective longitudinal study.Methods. All patients who had been newly admitted to the nursing home were included in the study. Age, gender, residence of the patients before admission, and indication were registered. All prescriptions were registered with start‐date and end‐date. The nomenclature and subcategory definitions used were those of the World Health Organisation Nordic Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification index (ATC) codes. Patients had a follow‐up of six weeks. Results. There was a minor, but statistically significant, increase in the mean number of drugs from 5.6 on admission to 5.8 six weeks later. Patients referred from a hospital and patients with a somatic indication were prescribed the highest number of drugs. On admission 5.5% of the patients were not on medication at all, 48%were using 1‐2 drugs, and 46% had been prescribed 6 or more drugs. Six weeks after admission, a significant increase in drug use was found in drugs for the nervous system, and drugs for the sensory organs. Conclusion. Increase in drug use does not necessarily have to reflect bad prescribing practices. However, in this frail population, continuous drug review is needed to guarantee quality of prescribing and reduce unnecessary polypharmacy.

Drug use Longitudinal study Nursing home patients Polypharmacy Prescribing 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.T.C.M. Koopmans
    • 1
  • J.P. van der Borgh
    • 2
  • J.H.J. Bor
    • 3
  • Y.A. Hekster
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Nursing Home MedicineUniversity Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands e‐mail
  2. 2.'Joachim en Anna' nursing homeNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of General PracticeUniversity Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Clinical PharmacyUniversity Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands

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