Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2017 Contents For further details please contact our
Health Services Manager – Maureen Lumello
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widely prescribed medications and
are used for the management of high
cholesterol to lessen the risk of heart
attack or stroke.
Statins can be used for primar y
prevention (stopping a cardiovascular
event from happening to a person who
has not experienced one before) and
secondar y prevention (stopping a serious
cardiovascular event in someone with
established cardiovascular disease).
Although the subject of some
conjecture, particularly for seniors, it is
generally agreed that the evidence to
secondar y prevention is stronger than
for primary prevention.
Moreover, when medications are
used for older people, the risks of
adverse effects and drug interactions are
generally thought to be higher than for
Of the 24,864 medication reviews
we examined, in 7,103 cases, or 29 per
cent, the resident was treated with a
statin at the time of review.
In 1,562 cases, the statin appears to
have been prescribed for people with
an established history of cardiovascular
pathology. This means the statins were
apparently prescribed for secondar y
prevention in 22 per cent of all people
receiving these agents, and for 6 per
cent of all people who under went a
On the other hand, statins appear
to have been prescribed for primar y
prevention in 78 per cent of cases where
these agents were prescribed, and for 22
per cent of all people who had received a
Looking at age patterns
It’s also interesting to understand
age pattern in statin usage amongst
In 5,525 of 7,103 people prescribed
statins (78 per cent), the recipient of the
review was aged 80 years or older.
In 2,246 people prescribed statins
(32 per cent) the resident was aged 90
years or older (including 79 people aged
100 years or older).
Of 5,525 people treated with statins
who were 80 years old and older, 1,186
(21 per cent) were treated for secondary
prevention and 79 per cent were treated
for primar y prevention.
For those less than 90 years of age, 485
(22 per cent) were treated for secondary
prevention, whereas the remainder (78
per cent) appeared to have been receiving
the statin for primar y prevention. This
is despite the fact that the risk of muscle
pain, falls and cognitive impairment
associated with statins is arguably much
higher amongst the “older-old”.
It’s now evident that using data to
understand and improve medication
in aged care is another example of the
ways in which prescribing information
can help achieve optimal prescribing for
aged care residents. n
Dr Chris Alderman is clinical director
of Ward Medication Management.
What’s a medication
Any older person living in residential
aged care can have a residential
medication management review – all
they need is a referral from a GP.
An RMMR is an excellent way to
identify and solve medication problems
and to prevent issues in the future.
Only a specially-qualified
pharmacist can provide an RMMR,
but after it is completed both GP and
the facility receive a detailed report
with specific recommendations.
RMMRs have been available to
Australians since 1997 and many
thousands are completed around the
country every month.
They are completely funded by the
Commonwealth, and can be provided
as often as a GP considers necessary.
Clinical indications for a review
range from new admission to a
facility, recent hospitalisation, new
onset of falls or confusion, or for
many other clinical syndromes.
Typical recommendations will
suggest introducing a new medicine,
changing the doses, discontinuing
a treatment, or additional monitoring
such as blood tests.
Dr Chris Alderman
australianageingagenda.com.au | 51
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