Steven A. Blackwell, Melissa A. Montgomery, Dave K. Baugh, Gary M. Ciborowski, and Gerald F. Riley
Department of Health and Human Services—Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Background: Inappropriate prescribing of certain medications known as Beers drugs may be harmful to the elderly, because the potential risk for an adverse outcome outweighs the potential benefit. Objectives: (1) To assess Beers drug use in dual enrollees compared to non-duals; (2) to explore the association between dual enrollment status and Beers use, controlling for the effects of age, gender, race/ethnicity, census region, and health status; (3) to assess which medication therapeutic category had the highest Beers use. Design: Cross sectional retrospective review of 2007 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service Part D data. Potentially inappropriate medication use was assessed, independent of diagnosis, using the 2003 update by Fick et al. Findings: The likelihood of Beers drug use among duals approximates that of non-duals (OR 1.023, 95% CI 1.020–1.026). Characteristics associated with the receipt of a Beers medication include Hispanic origin, younger age, female gender, poor health status, and residence outside of the U.S.’ Northeast region. Genitourinary products had the highest Beers use within medication therapeutic categories among both dual and non-dual enrollees (21.1% and 19.9%, respectively). Conclusions: Part D data can be successfully used to monitor Beers drug use. With adjustments for several important and easily measured demographic, health, and prescription drug use covariates, Beers drug use appears to be as common among non-dual enrollees as it is among dual enrollees in the Part D program. New Part D drug utilization policies that apply to all beneficiaries may need to be enacted to reduce Beers drug use.
Keywords: Medicare, Part D, Elderly, Beers, Prescribing