Prevalence of Potentially Inappropriate Medication use in older drivers

Li, Guohua; Andrews, Howard F.; Chihuri, Stanford; Lang, Barbara H.; Leu, Cheng S.; Merle, David P.; Gordon, Abigail; Mielenz, Thelma J.; Strogatz, David; Eby, David W.; Betz, Marian E.; DiGuiseppi, Carolyn; Jones, Vanya C.; Molnar, Lisa J.; Hill, Linda L.

Potentially Inappropriate Medication (PIM) use has been studied in a variety of older adult populations across the world. We sought to examine the prevalence and correlates of PIM use in older drivers.

We applied the American Geriatrics Society 2015 Beers Criteria to baseline data collected from the “brown-bag” review of medications for participants of the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) study to examine the prevalence and correlates of PIM use in a geographically diverse, community-dwelling sample of older drivers (n = 2949). Proportions of participants who used one or more PIMs according to the American Geriatrics Society 2015 Beers Criteria, and estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of PIM use associated with participant characteristics were calculated.

Overall, 18.5% of the older drivers studied used one or more PIM. The most commonly used therapeutic category of PIM was benzodiazepines (accounting for 16.6% of the total PIMs identified), followed by nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics (15.2%), antidepressants (15.2%), and first-generation antihistamines (10.5%). Compared to older drivers on four or fewer medications, the adjusted ORs of PIM use were 2.43 (95% CI 1.68–3.51) for those on 5–7 medications, 4.19 (95% CI 2.95–5.93) for those on 8–11 medications, and 8.01 (95% CI 5.71–11.23) for those on ≥12 medications. Older drivers who were female, white, or living in urban areas were at significantly heightened risk of PIM use.

About one in five older drivers uses PIMs. Commonly used PIMs are medications known to impair driving ability and increase crash risk. Implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce PIM use in older drivers may confer both health and safety benefits.

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December 20, 2022


Aging, Beers criteria, Driving safety, Older adults, Potentially inappropriate medications