Drug-use patterns among black and nonblack community-dwelling elderly.
OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare drug-use patterns among black and nonblack community-dwelling elderly. DESIGN: Survey. SETTING: Five-county urban and rural region in Piedmont, NC. PARTICIPANTS: Stratified probability household sample of 4164 community residents aged 65 or older from the Piedmont Health Survey of the Elderly (65 percent women, 54 percent black, mean age 73.56 +/- 6.74 y). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of medication use and mean drug use; therapeutic medication category use. RESULTS: Data were weighted to represent the population in this geographic area. Fewer blacks reported the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and total medications than did nonblacks (66 vs. 76 percent and 88 vs. 92 percent, respectively; p less than 0.001). Compared with nonblacks, blacks reported using a lower mean number of prescription (2.02 vs. 2.35; p less than 0.001), OTC (1.12 vs. 1.42; p less than 0.001), and total (3.14 vs. 3.77; p less than 0.001) drugs. The therapeutic medication categories varied by race for prescription cardiovascular, analgesic, and central nervous system (CNS) drugs and OTC nutritional supplements. More nonblacks than blacks reported the use of analgesics (62.5 vs. 55.6 percent, respectively; p less than 0.001), CNS drugs (26.1 vs. 14.2 percent, respectively; p less than 0.001), nutritional supplements (27.5 vs. 16.9 percent, respectively; p less than 0.001), and gastrointestinal agents (29.0 vs. 23.5 percent, respectively; p less than 0.001). Blacks were more likely to report problems in managing their medications than were nonblacks (9.0 vs. 6.1 percent, respectively; p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that there are distinct racial differences in medication-use patterns among the elderly.
Hanlon, JT; Fillenbaum, GG; Burchett, B; Wall, WE; Service, C; Blazer, DG; George, LK
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