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Polypharmacy is Associated with an Increased Risk of Bleeding in Elderly Patients with Venous Thromboembolism


Leiss, Waltraud; Méan, Marie; Limacher, Andreas; Righini, Marc; Jaeger, Kurt; Beer, Hans-Jürg; Osterwalder, Joseph; Frauchiger, Beat; Matter, Christian M; Kucher, Nils; Angelillo-Scherrer, Anne; Cornuz, Jacques; Banyai, Martin; Lämmle, Bernhard; Husmann, Marc; Egloff, Michael; Aschwanden, Markus; Rodondi, Nicolas; Aujesky, Drahomir (2015). Polypharmacy is Associated with an Increased Risk of Bleeding in Elderly Patients with Venous Thromboembolism. Journal of general internal medicine, 30(1):17-24.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Polypharmacy, defined as the concomitant use of multiple medications, is very common in the elderly and may trigger drug-drug interactions and increase the risk of falls in patients receiving vitamin K antagonists. OBJECTIVE To examine whether polypharmacy increases the risk of bleeding in elderly patients who receive vitamin K antagonists for acute venous thromboembolism (VTE). DESIGN We used a prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS In a multicenter Swiss cohort, we studied 830 patients aged ≥ 65 years with VTE. MAIN MEASURES We defined polypharmacy as the prescription of more than four different drugs. We assessed the association between polypharmacy and the time to a first major and clinically relevant non-major bleeding, accounting for the competing risk of death. We adjusted for known bleeding risk factors (age, gender, pulmonary embolism, active cancer, arterial hypertension, cardiac disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic liver and renal disease, diabetes mellitus, history of major bleeding, recent surgery, anemia, thrombocytopenia) and periods of vitamin K antagonist treatment as a time-varying covariate. KEY RESULTS Overall, 413 (49.8 %) patients had polypharmacy. The mean follow-up duration was 17.8 months. Patients with polypharmacy had a significantly higher incidence of major (9.0 vs. 4.1 events/100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.18, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.32-3.68) and clinically relevant non-major bleeding (14.8 vs. 8.0 events/100 patient-years; IRR 1.85, 95 % CI 1.27-2.71) than patients without polypharmacy. After adjustment, polypharmacy was significantly associated with major (sub-hazard ratio [SHR] 1.83, 95 % CI 1.03-3.25) and clinically relevant non-major bleeding (SHR 1.60, 95 % CI 1.06-2.42). CONCLUSIONS Polypharmacy is associated with an increased risk of both major and clinically relevant non-major bleeding in elderly patients receiving vitamin K antagonists for VTE.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Polypharmacy, defined as the concomitant use of multiple medications, is very common in the elderly and may trigger drug-drug interactions and increase the risk of falls in patients receiving vitamin K antagonists. OBJECTIVE To examine whether polypharmacy increases the risk of bleeding in elderly patients who receive vitamin K antagonists for acute venous thromboembolism (VTE). DESIGN We used a prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS In a multicenter Swiss cohort, we studied 830 patients aged ≥ 65 years with VTE. MAIN MEASURES We defined polypharmacy as the prescription of more than four different drugs. We assessed the association between polypharmacy and the time to a first major and clinically relevant non-major bleeding, accounting for the competing risk of death. We adjusted for known bleeding risk factors (age, gender, pulmonary embolism, active cancer, arterial hypertension, cardiac disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic liver and renal disease, diabetes mellitus, history of major bleeding, recent surgery, anemia, thrombocytopenia) and periods of vitamin K antagonist treatment as a time-varying covariate. KEY RESULTS Overall, 413 (49.8 %) patients had polypharmacy. The mean follow-up duration was 17.8 months. Patients with polypharmacy had a significantly higher incidence of major (9.0 vs. 4.1 events/100 patient-years; incidence rate ratio [IRR] 2.18, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.32-3.68) and clinically relevant non-major bleeding (14.8 vs. 8.0 events/100 patient-years; IRR 1.85, 95 % CI 1.27-2.71) than patients without polypharmacy. After adjustment, polypharmacy was significantly associated with major (sub-hazard ratio [SHR] 1.83, 95 % CI 1.03-3.25) and clinically relevant non-major bleeding (SHR 1.60, 95 % CI 1.06-2.42). CONCLUSIONS Polypharmacy is associated with an increased risk of both major and clinically relevant non-major bleeding in elderly patients receiving vitamin K antagonists for VTE.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Angiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:21 August 2015
Deposited On:05 Feb 2015 08:13
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 08:25
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0884-8734
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-014-2993-8
PubMed ID:25143224

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