Objective: Due to potential adverse effects, guidelines recommend that anticholinergics and opioids be avoided in older adults unless necessary. This study examines the dispensing trends of these medications among older Australians. Methods: Data of 2222 PATH study (60+ cohort) participants were analysed. Medication dispensing data were obtained from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme from April 2004 to March 2015. Temporal trends of prescriptions dispensed were assessed using joinpoint regression analysis. Results: Of all dispensed prescriptions, 5.5% were for anticholinergics and opioids, and 46.2% of anticholinergics dispensed were anti-depressants. Anticholinergic dispensing trend increased in 2004-2015 (annual per cent change, APC = 3.4%), particularly for moderately anticholinergic medications (APC = 6.8%). Dispensing trend for opioids increased in 2004-2011 (APC = 11.3%) and declined in 2011-2015 (APC = −4.4%). Conclusion: While guidelines urge caution in prescribing these medications to older adults, dispensing increased over time in this study population.
- cholinergic antagonist
- opioid analgesics