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CitationEur. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2003, 59(8-9):637-44
AbstractOBJECTIVE: To investigate changes in drug treatment among elderly men and women over a 29-year period between 1971 and 2000. METHODS: Drug consumption was investigated in five representative population samples of 70-year-olds born in 1901-1902 (n=973), 1906-1907 (n=1036), 1911-1912 (n=619), 1922 (n=449) and 1930 (n=506) and in three representative samples of 79- to 80-year-olds born in 1901-1902 (n=537), 1906-1907 (n=538) and 1915 (n=212). RESULTS: The proportion of 70-year-olds who used drugs increased from 60% to 79% in men and from 76% to 88% in women from 1972 to 2000. Among 80-year-olds, 21% of the men and 11% of the women were without drug treatment in 1980, compared with 7% in 1995. The average number of drugs among 70-year-olds on treatment increased during the observation period from 2.8 to 3.5 in men and from 2.8 to 4.0 in women. At age 79-80 years, the mean number of drugs was 3.3 in men and 4.0 in women in 1980 and 4.0 in men and 4.7 in women in 1995. The most common drugs were cardiovascular drugs, analgesics and drugs for diseases in the central nervous system. The most pronounced changes in the consumption of specific drugs were found for anti-ulcerative drugs (increased), digitalis (decreased), diuretics (decreased in women), anti-thrombotic drugs (increased), calcium/vitamin D (increased), insulin (increased in men aged 70 years), analgesics (increased), levaxin (increased in women), anti-depressants (increased in women aged 70 years) and oestrogen in women (increased). The treatment patterns for cardiovascular diseases changed during the observation period and the use of calcium antagonists, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers and lipid-lowering drugs increased. CONCLUSION: The proportion of the population with drug treatment at ages 70 years and 79-80 years increased as did the average number of drugs among treated subjects between 1971 and 2000. Important differences in the treatment patterns for different diseases were observed.
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