Remaining Life Expectancy With and Without Polypharmacy: A Register-Based Study of Swedes Aged 65 Years and Older

Jonas W. Wastesson, Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Rune Lindahl-Jacobsen, Kristina Johnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the remaining life expectancy with and without polypharmacy for Swedish women and men aged 65 years and older. Design: Age-specific prevalence of polypharmacy from the nationwide Swedish Prescribed Drug Register (SPDR) combined with life tables from Statistics Sweden was used to calculate the survival function and remaining life expectancy with and without polypharmacy according to the Sullivan method. Setting: Nationwide register-based study. Participants: A total of 1,347,564 individuals aged 65 years and older who had been prescribed and dispensed a drug from July 1 to September 30, 2008. Measurements: Polypharmacy was defined as the concurrent use of 5 or more drugs. Results: At age 65 years, approximately 8 years of the 20 remaining years of life (41%) can be expected to be lived with polypharmacy. More than half of the remaining life expectancy will be spent with polypharmacy after the age of 75 years. Women had a longer life expectancy, but also lived more years with polypharmacy than men. Discussion: Older women and men spend a considerable proportion of their lives with polypharmacy. Conclusion: Given the negative health outcomes associated with polypharmacy, efforts should be made to reduce the number of years older adults spend with polypharmacy to minimize the risk of unwanted consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-35
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Drug use
  • Life expectancy
  • Polypharmacy
  • Sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy

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