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Krueger, Caroline; Schaefer, Ingmar; Bussche, Hendrik van den; Baehr, Michael; Bickel, Horst; Fuchs, Angela; Gensichen, Jochen; Maier, Wolfgang; Riedel-Heller, Steffi G.; Koenig, Hans-Helmut; Dahlhaus, Anne; Schoen, Gerhard; Weyerer, Siegfried; Wiese, Birgitt; Renteln-Kruse, Wolfgang von; Langebrake, Claudia and Scherer, Martin (2021): Non-random relations in drug use expressed as patterns comprising prescription and over-the-counter drugs in multimorbid elderly patients in primary care: Data of the exploratory analysis of the multicentre, observational cohort study MultiCare. In: European Journal of General Practice, Vol. 27, No. 1: pp. 119-129

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Background The elderly population deals with multimorbidity (three chronic conditions) and increasinged drug use with age. A comprehensive characterisation of the medication - including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs - of elderly patients in primary care is still insufficient. Objectives This study aims to characterise the medication (prescription and OTC) of multimorbid elderly patients in primary care and living at home by identifying drug patterns to evaluate the relationship between drugs and drug groups and reveal associations with recently published multimorbidity clusters of the same cohort. Methods MultiCare was a multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study of 3189 multimorbid patients aged 65 to 85 years in primary care in Germany. Patients and general practitioners were interviewed between 2008 and 2009. Drug patterns were identified using exploratory factor analysis. The relations between the drug patterns with the three multimorbidity clusters were analysed with Spearman-Rank-Correlation. Results Patients (59.3% female) used in mean 7.7 drugs;in total 24,535 drugs (23.7% OTC) were detected. Five drug patterns for men (drugs for obstructive pulmonary diseases (D-OPD), drugs for coronary heart diseases and hypertension (D-CHD), drugs for osteoporosis (D-Osteo), drugs for heart failure and drugs for pain) and four drug patterns for women (D-Osteo, D-CHD, D-OPD and drugs for diuretics and gout) were detected. Significant associations between multimorbidity clusters and drug patterns were detectable (D-CHD and CMD: male: rho = 0.376, CI 0.322-0.430;female: rho = 0.301, CI 0.624-0.340). Conclusion The drug patterns demonstrate non-random relations in drug use in multimorbid elderly patients and systematic associations between drug patterns and multimorbidity clusters were found in primary care.

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