BioScience Trends. 2022;16(1):99-106. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01021)

Elderly patients with comorbid hypertension who prefer primary care have a lower rate of polypharmacy: A cross-sectional study in Shanghai, China

Wu WH, Tang Q, Wang C, Cao Y, Liu ZW, Li XH, Chen G, Lu J


In 2017, the World Health Organization highlighted polypharmacy as one of the key focus areas of the Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety. According to the experience of developed countries, the provision of primary pharmaceutical care plays a very important role in the intervention of polypharmacy in the elderly. It is necessary to assess the associations between elderly polypharmacy status and primary care in developing countries. The findings of this paper provide the prevalence of polypharmacy in patients with comorbid hypertension, and the factors associated with it. A total of 19,332 elderly patients with hypertension were completed, among which the mean (SD) number of diseases was 4.83 (1.99), the mean (SD) daily maximum number of drugs was 5.13 (2.89), and the rate of polypharmacy was 50.5%. Age, living areas, total number of visits, preference for medical institutions and the number of diseases were associated with polypharmacy. Among them, advanced age, greater number of visits and diseases are the risk factors of polypharmacy for elderly patients with comorbid hypertension. The rate of polypharmacy in patients who intend to seek treatment in community healthcare centers is low. A total of 9,603 pharmaceutical workers worked in Shanghai public hospitals in 2020, among them 52.0% worked in the central city area, and more than 70% worked in secondary and tertiary hospitals. There was a large mismatch between patients' medical preference and the number of pharmaceutical personnel. As a consequence, it is necessary to strengthen the development of community pharmaceutical care in primary medical institutions for elderly polypharmacy management.

KEYWORDS: polypharmacy, the elderly, comorbid hypertension, visit preference, primary pharmaceutical care

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