Improving Medication Safety in Seniors: A Cross-Jurisdictional Linkage Project [ 2006 - 2008 ]

Also known as: Making Medicines Safer for Older Australians

Research Grant

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Researchers: Prof Cashel Holman (Principal investigator) ,  A/Pr Chris Kelman Dr Frank Sanfilippo Ms Diana Rosman Prof James Semmens
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Brief description The project will identify priorities for tackling the current epidemic of hospitalisation of Australians aged 65+ years due to side effects of their medications. Two different groups of medications will be investigated. The first will be the prescribed drugs most often recorded as causes of hospital stay, including those taken to stop blood clotting, for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, for rheumatism or strong pain relief, anti-cancer drugs and steroids. The study will examine which of these drugs taken under what circumstances has the highest risk, so prevention can be better targeted. The study will investigate if adequate laboratory monitoring of the anti- clotting drugs is taking place and whether the guidelines should be updated. The second group will be 68 medications that should be avoided in seniors according to an international expert panel. The research will see how often these 'inappropriate medications' are still prescribed in the Australian setting, and the size of their contributions to unplanned hospital stays. The researchers suspect that this problem is much larger than immediately apparent from routine statistics, because many of the side effects of inappropriate medications are non-specific, such as confusion, drowsiness or difficulty standing up, thus putting seniors at risk of falls and neglect of other aspects of their health. The study will use a unique and new Australian research facility, which has brought together health data on the entire population of WA from both the State and Commonwealth levels, including information on pharmaceuticals, Medicare use, hospital stays and deaths. The facility works in such a way as to preserve patient and GP privacy. A strong feature of this research will be the degree of involvement of a representative and voluntary group of older Australian patients who attend GP clinics, and the GPs themselves, in advising the researchers on what's important to consumers and GPs.

Funding Amount $AUD 636,717.94

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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