Polypharmacy among the elderly in the Republic of Srpska: extent and implications for the future

Vanda Marković-Peković, Ranko Škrbić, Aleksandar Petrović, Vera Vlahović-Palčevski, Jana Mrak, Marion Bennie, Joseph Fadare, Hye Young Kwon, Krijn Schiffers, Ilse Truter, Brian Godman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The prescribing of medicines is a fundamental component of care for the elderly; however, there is increasing concern with polypharmacy and its impact on morbidity, mortality and costs. As a result, long-term prescription-medicine use and the prevalence of polypharmacy in the elderly in the Republic of Srpska were analyzed. The findings were subsequently used to suggest potential future measures. A retrospective study of all elderly patients during 2005–2010 stratified by age group (three groups), sex and long-term medicine use was performed. Polypharmacy (five or more medicines) increased from 1.4% of the elderly taking medicines long-term to 3.6% by 2010, with 53.6% of elderly taking two or more medicines long-term. The most prevalent diseases were cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Most prescriptions were in accordance with recent guidelines; however, there was a concern with appreciable prescribing of digoxin and aminophylline. Whilst polypharmacy rates are low in the Republic, the increasing rate is a concern. Further studies are planned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-618
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Polypharmacy
  • Republic of Srpska
  • cardiovascular disease
  • drug utilisation
  • guidelines


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