Multidose drug dispensing (MDD) is an adherence aid that provides patients with machine-dispensed medicines in disposable unit bags, usually for a 14 day period. Previous studies have suggested that the quality of prescribing, with time, is lower for MDD users, compared to patients receiving prescriptions dispensed as usual. This study aimed to examine the quality of prescribing to Norwegian elderly home care service patients receiving MDD.
A cross-sectional study comprising 45,593 MDD patients aged ≥70 years was performed. The proportion of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) was assessed using the Norwegian General Practice Criteria, and drug-drug interactions (DDI) were investigated using the Norwegian Medicines Agency database.
On average, patients were prescribed 10.6 drugs (SD = 5.0), of which 6.1 were dispensed via MDD. Men used on average fewer drugs than women (10.7 vs 11.1), Twenty-seven percent of patients used at least one PIM. Concomitant use of three or more psychotropic drugs (10.8%), and prescribing of diazepam (6.4%) was the most commonly identified inappropriate prescribing. DDIs affected 59% of the patients, however, only 2.7% had serious interactions. Women were more frequently exposed to both PIMs and DDIs than men, with an odds ratio of 1.50 (95% CI: 1.43–1.58) and 1.43 (95% CI: 1.37–1.50), respectively.
Polypharmacy is common in elderly Norwegian patients using MDD. About one-fourth of the patients were exposed to PIMs, and over half were exposed to DDI.||