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Inappropriate Medication Use in Elderly Lebanese Outpatients

Prevalence and Risk Factors



Inappropriate use of medications has become an international cause for concern in geriatric patients, who are at high risk of drug-related morbidity. This study is the first attempt to determine the prevalence of inappropriate drug use in elderly Lebanese outpatients, using community pharmacy data, and to identify factors that predict potentially inappropriate drug intake in this population.


Records of elderly patients aged ≥65 years were selected from different community pharmacies. Each patient profile was reviewed and to confirm patient record information, in-person interviews were conducted with elderly patients between November 2004 and May 2005 by qualified pharmacists. Based on a literature review describing guidelines for the inappropriate use of medications in the elderly, courses of therapy were assessed and classified as either appropriate or inappropriate. Courses of therapy that were judged inappropriate were further classified according to the specific area of inappropriate use (i.e. Beers’ criteria, duplicate therapy, indication, dose, dose frequency including missing doses, duration and discontinuation of therapy, adverse effects, drug-drug and/or drug-disease interactions, and poor memory). Statistical analyses were performed to estimate the prevalence of inappropriate medication use and to identify potentially predictive factors of such use arising from patients’ sociodemographic characteristics, health factors and drug regimen intake.


A total of 350 elderly patient profiles were reviewed, from which 277 evaluable records were obtained. More than half (59.6%) of the patients taking drugs at the time of the study were taking at least one inappropriate medication. Inappropriate medication use was most frequently identified in terms of Beers’ criteria (22.4%), missing doses (18.8%) or incorrect frequency of administration of drugs (13.0%). Factors predicting potentially inappropriate drug intake included female sex (65.7% vs 53.3% for males, p = 0.03) and alcohol intake (p = 0.007). There were also significant associations between the likelihood of use of an inappropriate drug and (i) increased number of medical illnesses (p < 0.00002); and (ii) consumption of an over-the-counter drug (OTC) and/or prescription drug (p = 0.048 and p = 0.0035, respectively). The likelihood of use of an inappropriate drug was higher again when patients concurrently used both OTC and prescription drugs (p < 0.0002).


The present study is the first to describe and assess inappropriate medication use by elderly outpatients in the Lebanese community setting. With increasing availability of newer and more appropriate medications, use of potentially inappropriate drugs may decrease. Pharmacists have a major role to play in counselling patients about the importance of appropriate drug use.

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We would like to thank the 2004 Lebanese American University Pharmacy School B Pharm graduates for their contribution to the collection of data for this study.

No sources of funding were used to assist in the conduct of this study.

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Correspondence to Yolande B. Saab.

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Saab, Y.B., Hachem, A., Sinno, S. et al. Inappropriate Medication Use in Elderly Lebanese Outpatients. Drugs Aging 23, 743–752 (2006).

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  • Community Pharmacy
  • Community Pharmacist
  • Alendronic Acid
  • Patient Profile
  • Inappropriate Medication