Purpose: Under-prescription is defined as the omission of a medication that is indicated for the treatment of a condition or a disease, without any valid reason for not prescribing it. The aim of this review is to provide an updated overview of under-prescription, summarizing the available evidence concerning its prevalence, causes, consequences and potential interventions to reduce it. Methods: A PubMed search was performed, using the following keywords: under-prescription; under-treatment; prescribing omission; older adults; polypharmacy; cardiovascular drugs; osteoporosis; anticoagulant. The list of articles was evaluated by two authors who selected the most relevant of them. The reference lists of retrieved articles were screened for additional pertinent studies. Results: Although several pharmacological therapies are safe and effective in older patients, under-prescription remains widespread in the older population, with a prevalence ranging from 22 to 70%. Several drugs are underused, including cardiovascular, oral anticoagulant and anti-osteoporotic drugs. Many factors are associated with under-prescription, e.g. multi-morbidity, polypharmacy, dementia, frailty, risk of adverse drug events, absence of specific clinical trials in older patients and economic factors. Under-prescription is associated with negative consequences, such as higher risk of cardiovascular events, worsening disability, hospitalization and death. The implementation of explicit criteria for under-prescription, the use of the comprehensive geriatric assessment by geriatricians, and the involvement of a clinical pharmacist seem to be promising options to reduce under-prescription. Conclusion: Under-prescription remains widespread in the older population. Further studies should be performed, to provide a better comprehension of this phenomenon and to confirm the efficacy of corrective interventions.

Underprescription of medications in older adults: causes, consequences and solutions—a narrative review

Dell'Aquila G.
;
Cherubini A.
2021

Abstract

Purpose: Under-prescription is defined as the omission of a medication that is indicated for the treatment of a condition or a disease, without any valid reason for not prescribing it. The aim of this review is to provide an updated overview of under-prescription, summarizing the available evidence concerning its prevalence, causes, consequences and potential interventions to reduce it. Methods: A PubMed search was performed, using the following keywords: under-prescription; under-treatment; prescribing omission; older adults; polypharmacy; cardiovascular drugs; osteoporosis; anticoagulant. The list of articles was evaluated by two authors who selected the most relevant of them. The reference lists of retrieved articles were screened for additional pertinent studies. Results: Although several pharmacological therapies are safe and effective in older patients, under-prescription remains widespread in the older population, with a prevalence ranging from 22 to 70%. Several drugs are underused, including cardiovascular, oral anticoagulant and anti-osteoporotic drugs. Many factors are associated with under-prescription, e.g. multi-morbidity, polypharmacy, dementia, frailty, risk of adverse drug events, absence of specific clinical trials in older patients and economic factors. Under-prescription is associated with negative consequences, such as higher risk of cardiovascular events, worsening disability, hospitalization and death. The implementation of explicit criteria for under-prescription, the use of the comprehensive geriatric assessment by geriatricians, and the involvement of a clinical pharmacist seem to be promising options to reduce under-prescription. Conclusion: Under-prescription remains widespread in the older population. Further studies should be performed, to provide a better comprehension of this phenomenon and to confirm the efficacy of corrective interventions.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1503913
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