The prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (analgesics) was studied using computerized patient records from a Finnish health centre with a population base of some 27,000 inhabitants. A random sample of every fifth patient visiting the health centre in 1986 was chosen. This study sample consisted of 4,577 patients with 17,021 physician contacts and altogether 14,035 prescriptions during the 1-year follow-up: of these analgesics comprised 14.8%. The proportion of the study population who received at least one analgesic prescription was 23 +/- 1.2% (95% CI). The use of physician contacts as a base revealed 10.7 +/- 0.5% (95% CI) of the contacts with an analgesic prescription. The exposure to analgesics among males increased with age from 17% for those aged 15-34 years to 34% for those aged 75 years or more. Among women, exposure to analgesics increased from 17% (15-34 years) to 41% (75 years or more). Most of patients who received analgesic prescriptions were incidental users (one or two analgesic prescriptions per year). Only 4% of women and 3% of men were categorized as heavy users of analgesics (seven or more analgesic prescriptions per year). The proportion of heavy users increased with age and was highest in the oldest age-group (75 years or more). In order to make informed policy judgements about drug use in society, we need routine sales statistics and patient-specific drug-use data such as those presented in this paper.
Drug dependency may develop during long-term benzodiazepine use, indicated, for example, by dose escalation. The first benzodiazepine chosen may affect the risk of dose escalation.
To detect possible differences in benzodiazepine use between new users of diazepam and oxazepam over time.
This 5-year prescription database study included 19 747 new benzodiazepine users, inhabitants of Norway, aged 30-60 years, with first redemption for diazepam or oxazepam.
Individuals starting on diazepam versus oxazepam were analysed by logistic regression with sex, age, other drug redemptions, prescriber's specialty, household income, education level, type of work, and vocational rehabilitation support as background variables. Time to reach a daily average intake of =1 defined daily doses (DDD) over a 3-month period was analysed using a Cox proportional hazard regression model.
New users of oxazepam had a higher risk for dose escalation compared with new users of diazepam. This was true even when accounting for differences in sociodemographic status and previous drug use (hazard ratio [HR] 1.33, 95% confidence interval = 1.17 to 1.51).
Most doctors prescribed, according to recommendations, oxazepam to individuals they may have regarded as prone to and at risk of dependency. However, these individuals were at higher risk for dose escalation even when accounting for differences in sociodemographic status and previous drug use. Differences between the two user groups could be explained by different preferences for starting drug, DDD for oxazepam being possibly too low, and some unaccounted differences in illness.
Health administrative data can be a valuable tool for disease surveillance and research. Few studies have rigorously evaluated the accuracy of administrative databases for identifying rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. Our aim was to validate administrative data algorithms to identify RA patients in Ontario, Canada.
We performed a retrospective review of a random sample of 450 patients from 18 rheumatology clinics. Using rheumatologist-reported diagnosis as the reference standard, we tested and validated different combinations of physician billing, hospitalization, and pharmacy data.
One hundred forty-nine rheumatology patients were classified as having RA and 301 were classified as not having RA based on our reference standard definition (study RA prevalence 33%). Overall, algorithms that included physician billings had excellent sensitivity (range 94-100%). Specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) were modest to excellent and increased when algorithms included multiple physician claims or specialist claims. The addition of RA medications did not significantly improve algorithm performance. The algorithm of "(1 hospitalization RA code ever) OR (3 physician RA diagnosis codes [claims] with =1 by a specialist in a 2-year period)" had a sensitivity of 97%, specificity of 85%, PPV of 76%, and negative predictive value of 98%. Most RA patients (84%) had an RA diagnosis code present in the administrative data within ±1 year of a rheumatologist's documented diagnosis date.
We demonstrated that administrative data can be used to identify RA patients with a high degree of accuracy. RA diagnosis date and disease duration are fairly well estimated from administrative data in jurisdictions of universal health care insurance.
Though high discontinuation rates for antipsychotics (APs) by patients with schizophrenia are frequently reported, the percentage of patients receiving pharmaceutical treatment for schizophrenia in routine practice in accordance with international clinical guidelines is unknown. Further, it is unknown if these rates are influenced by levels of neighbourhood deprivation or by a patient's age or sex. Our study aims to investigate if inequalities in AP treatment could be observed between patients living in neighbourhoods with the highest levels of material and social deprivation and those with the lowest deprivation levels, between patients from different age groups, or between men and women.
We conducted a secondary analysis of medical-administrative data of a cohort of adult patients in the province of Quebec with a medical contact for schizophrenia in a 2-year period (2004-2005). We assessed the proportion of patients that filled at least 1 prescription for an AP and received adequate pharmaceutical treatment, defined as being in possession of APs at least 80% of the time as outpatients during a 2-year follow-up period.
Among the 30 544 study patients, 88.5% filled at least 1 prescription for an AP, and 67.5% of the treated patients received adequate treatment. Though no clinically significant differences were observed by deprivation or sex, younger age was associated with lower proportions of patients receiving adequate treatment (46% of treated patients aged between 18 and 29 years, compared with 72% aged between 30 and 64 years, and 77% aged 65 years and over).
In Quebec's routine practice, over 70% of treated patients aged 30 and over received adequate pharmacological treatment, regardless of sex or neighbourhood socioeconomic status. In contrast, in patients aged between 18 and 29 years this percentage was 47%. This is a discouraging finding, especially because optimal treatment in the early phase of disease is reported to result in the best long-term outcomes.
To study how prescription patterns concerning respiratory tract infections differ between interns, residents, younger general practitioners (GPs), older GPs and locums.
Retrospective study of structured data from electronic patient records.
Data were obtained from 53 health centres and 3 out-of-hours units in Jönköping County, Sweden, through their common electronic medical record database.
All physicians working in primary care during the 2-year study period (1 November 2010 to 31 October 2012).
Physicians' adherence to current guidelines for respiratory tract infections regarding the use of antibiotics.
We found considerable differences in prescribing patterns between physician categories. The recommended antibiotic, phenoxymethylpenicillin, was more often prescribed by interns, residents and younger GPs, while older GPs and locums to a higher degree prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics. The greatest differences were seen when the recommendation in guidelines was to refrain from antibiotics, as for acute bronchitis. Interns and residents most often followed guidelines, while compliance in descending order was: young GPs, older GPs and locums. We also noticed that male doctors were somewhat overall more restrictive with antibiotics than female doctors.
In general, primary care doctors followed national guidelines on choice of antibiotics when treating respiratory tract infections in children but to a lesser degree when treating adults. Refraining from antibiotics seems harder. Adherence to national guidelines could be improved, especially for acute bronchitis and pneumonia. This was especially true for older GPs and locums whose prescription patterns were distant from the prevailing guidelines.
Population studies of statin adherence are generally restricted to one to two years of follow-up and do not analyze adherence to other drugs.
To report long-term adherence rates for statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta-blockers in patients who recently experienced a first cardiovascular event.
Linked administrative databases in the province of Saskatchewan were used in this retrospective cohort study. Eligible patients received a new statin prescription within one year of their first cardiovascular event between 1994 and 2001. Adherence to statins, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors was assessed from the first statin prescription to a subsequent cardiovascular event.
Of 1221 eligible patients, the proportion of patients adherent to statin medications dropped to 60.3% at one year and 48.8% at five years. The decline in the proportion of adherent patients was most notable during the first two years (100% to 53.7%). Several factors were associated with statin adherence, including age (P = 0.012), number of physician service days (P = 0.037), chronic disease score (P = 0.032), beta-blocker adherence (P
Osteoporosis treatments reduce the risk of fractures. The objective of this study was to investigate adherence to treatment of osteoporosis and its association to fractures in Sweden. Adherence to treatment of osteoporosis in Sweden is poor, and time on treatment was found to be significantly associated with fracture incidence.
The objective of this study was to estimate persistence and compliance to treatment of primary osteoporosis in Sweden. A second aim was to investigate the determinants of non-persistence and the association between adherence and fracture incidence.
Patients were identified through filled prescriptions for alendronate, risedronate, strontium ranelate, and raloxifene between 2005 and 2009 from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Persistence was investigated using survival analysis. Medication possession ratio (MPR) was used to measure compliance in persistent patients. The outcome measure in the analysis of adherence and fracture incidence was hospitalized osteoporotic fractures.
The final cohort consisted of 56,586 treatment-na?ve patients (mean age 71, 86% women). A total of 51%, 35%, 25%, and 14% were still on treatment (switching allowed) after 1, 2, 3, and 4 years, respectively. Average MPR in persistent patients was 94.2% (CI(95) 94.2-94.3%). Compared with
Treatment with warfarin greatly reduces the risk of stroke related to atrial fibrillation, but will not be effective unless patients adhere to treatment. Lack of fixed dosing makes it difficult to objectively estimate adherence to treatment from prescription data.
To evaluate two methods that assess adherence to warfarin from prescription data.
Retrospective study of Swedish health care registers.
Age- and sex-specific dose requirements were determined from approx. 1 million blood tests and dosing instructions. By applying these dosages to 163,785 warfarin-treated patients with atrial fibrillation, we calculated the quantity of warfarin that was needed to keep these patients on effective treatment during a mean follow-up of 3.9 years and compared that with the dispensed quantities. The ratio of available drug/time at risk constitutes a measure of adherence on group level. In addition, time intervals between refills were used to assess discontinuation.
Both methods showed that 45% of the patients did not have enough warfarin to last 80% of the time at risk. Between 16 and 21% of the patients discontinued within the first year, followed by 8-9% annually during the following years. Patients with high bleeding risk and patients with low embolic risk showed lower endurance.
Adherence to treatment with warfarin can be estimated on group level from prescription data and may be useful for comparison of adherence with warfarin and new oral anticoagulants. When applied to a large warfarin-treated cohort with atrial fibrillation, we found that adherence is low and that measures aiming for improvements are needed .
To compare self-reported (SR) medication use and pharmacy data for major psychoactive medications and three classes of medications used for different indications, and to determine the socio-economic factors associated with the congruence.
Postal questionnaire data collected in 1997 were compared with the register of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland on the reimbursed prescriptions purchased during 1997. Altogether 7625 subjects were included in this study. Drugs were categorized according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) system.
Kappa values were 0.77, 0.68, 0.84, 0.92 and 0.55 for antipsychotics, antidepressants, antiepileptics, antidiabetics and beta-blocking agents, respectively. Prevalence-adjusted and bias-adjusted kappa values were almost perfect (0.98-1.00). Reliability of antipsychotics use was better for married subjects than for those who were not married; and of antidepressants use for highly educated and married subjects than for those who were less educated and were not married. Altogether 414 (5.4%) responders and 285 (7.1%) non-responders had used at least one of the selected medications.
Agreement between the SR and pharmacy data was moderate for psychoactive medication use. Even though data collected by postal questionnaire may underestimate the prevalence of medication use due to non-participation it can be assumed accurate enough for study purposes.
The purpose of the present study was to assess the agreement between self-reported use of sleep medications and tranquilizers and dispensed hypnotics and anxiolytics.
Self-reported medication use was obtained from the population-based survey Health and Environment in Oslo (HELMILO) (2009-2010) (n = 13 019). Data on dispensed hypnotics and anxiolytics were obtained from the Norwegian Prescription Database (NorPD). As measures of validity, we calculated sensitivity and specificity using both self-reports and prescription records as the reference standard. Furthermore, we calculated Cohen's kappa. Current self-reported medication use was compared with prescription data in time windows of both 100 and 200 days preceding questionnaire completion.
The highest sensitivity was observed for current sleep medication use in the 100-day time window (sensitivity = 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.74, 0.79) when using prescription records as the reference standard. Sensitivity was generally lower for tranquilizers compared with sleep medications. Cohen's kappa showed the highest agreement for the 200-day time window with substantial agreement for sleep medications (kappa = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.67) and moderate agreement for tranquilizers (kappa = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.41, 0.48).
The present study suggests moderate to substantial agreement between self-reported use of sleep medications and tranquilizers and dispensed drugs in a general adult population. The magnitude of agreement varied according to drug category and time window. Since self-reported and registry-based use of these drug classes does not match each other accurately, limitations of each data source should be considered when such medications are applied as the exposure or outcome in epidemiologic studies.