Stop the Beers…drugs! An examination of potentially inappropriate medication use in older Medicare beneficiaries

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Conference Title

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting


American Public Health Association (APHA)


Denver, CO

Conference Dates

October 29-November 2, 2016

Date of Presentation



Background: In late 2015, the American Geriatric Society released the updated Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in older adults. Currently, ~84% of 55 million US Medicare beneficiaries are 65 years of age or older. We utilized the updated Beers Criteria to examine the prevalence of PIM use by older Medicare beneficiaries. methods: We held 13 Mobile Clinics in northern/central California during fall 2015. Beneficiaries at each clinic site were provided a myriad of health services including Medication Therapy Management (MTM). Each MTM intervention included a comprehensive review of the beneficiary's medication regimen. The intervention was conducted via a structured interview during which drug, disease state, and sociodemographic data were collected. Each beneficiary's current drug therapy was examined against the 2015 Beers Criteria. results: MTM services were provided to 860 beneficiaries; 703 were 65 years of age or older and taking at least one medication. This latter group comprised the study sample. In total, 328 (46.7%) beneficiaries were taking at least one PIM. Therapeutic categories in which the highest number of PIMs were found included: Benzodiazepines (n=87[(26.5%]), Non-cyclooxygenase-selective oral NSAIDs (n=45[13.7%]), and Nonbenzodiazepine/Benzodiazepine receptor agonist hypnotics (n=37[11.3%]). The prevalence of PIMs significantly varied as a function of race, subsidy status, and presence of certain disease states. conclusion: In light of the updated and more inclusive Beers Criteria, prescribers, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals should closely examine the medication regimen of older adults; doing so may improve medication selection, reduce adverse drug events, and improve a patient's quality-of-life.

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