Drug therapy in primary care is a challenge for general practitioners (GPs) and the prescribing decision is influenced by several factors. GPs obtain drug information in different ways, from evidence-based sources, their own or others’ experiences, or interactions with opinion makers, patients or colleagues. The need for objective drug information sources instead of drug industry-provided information has led to the establishment of local drug and therapeutic committees. They annually produce and implement local treatment guidelines in order to promote rational drug use. This study describes Swedish GPs’ attitudes towards locally developed evidence-based treatment guidelines.
Three focus group interviews were performed with a total of 17 GPs working at both public and private primary health care centres in Skåne in southern Sweden. Transcripts were analysed by conventional content analysis. Codes, categories and themes were derived from data during the analysis.
We found two main themes: GP-related influencing factors and External influencing factors. The first theme emerged when we put together four main categories: Expectations and perceptions about existing local guidelines, Knowledge about evidence-based prescribing, Trust in development of guidelines, and Beliefs about adherence to guidelines. The second theme included the categories Patient-related aspects, Drug industry-related aspects, and Health economic aspects. The time-saving aspect, trust in evidence-based market-neutral guidelines and patient safety were described as key motivating factors for adherence. Patient safety was reported to be more important than adherence to guidelines or maintaining a good patient-doctor relationship. Cost containment was perceived both as a motivating factor and a barrier for adherence to guidelines. GPs expressed concerns about difficulties with adherence to guidelines when managing patients with drugs from other prescribers. GPs experienced a lack of time to self-inform and difficulties managing direct-to-consumer drug industry information.
Patient safety, trust in development of evidence-based recommendations, the patient-doctor encounter and cost containment were found to be key factors in GPs’ prescribing. Future studies should explore the need for transparency in forming and implementing guidelines, which might potentially increase adherence to evidence-based treatment guidelines in primary care.
Qualitative research; Focus groups; Guidelines; Attitudes; Primary care; GPs; Adherence; Drug therapy
Risk factors for hip fracture are well studied because of the negative impact on patients and the community, with mortality in the first year being almost 30% in the elderly. Age, gender and fall risk-increasing drugs, identified by the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden, are well known risk factors for hip fracture, but how multimorbidity level affects the risk of hip fracture during use of fall risk-increasing drugs is to our knowledge not as well studied. This study explored the relationship between use of fall risk-increasing drugs in combination with multimorbidity level and risk of hip fracture in an elderly population.
Data were from Östergötland County, Sweden, and comprised the total population in the county aged 75 years and older during 2006. The odds ratio (OR) for hip fracture during use of fall risk-increasing drugs was calculated by multivariate logistic regression, adjusted for age, gender and individual multimorbidity level. Multimorbidity level was estimated with the Johns Hopkins ACG Case-Mix System and grouped into six Resource Utilization Bands (RUBs 0–5).
2.07% of the study population (N = 38,407) had a hip fracture during 2007. Patients using opioids (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.34-1.82), dopaminergic agents (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.24-2.55), anxiolytics (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.11-1.54), antidepressants (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.42-1.95) or hypnotics/sedatives (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.13-1.52) had increased ORs for hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level. Vasodilators used in cardiac diseases, antihypertensive agents, diuretics, beta-blocking agents, calcium channel blockers and renin-angiotensin system inhibitors were not associated with an increased OR for hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level.
Use of fall risk-increasing drugs such as opioids, dopaminergic agents, anxiolytics, antidepressants and hypnotics/sedatives increases the risk of hip fracture after adjustment for age, gender and multimorbidity level. Fall risk-increasing drugs, high age, female gender and multimorbidity level, can be used to identify high-risk patients who could benefit from a medication review to reduce the risk of hip fracture.
Hip fracture; Multimorbidity level; Fall risk-increasing drugs; Elderly; Medication review; Sweden
Objective. To determine whether a pharmacist-led medications review in primary care reduces the number of drugs and the number of drug-related problems. Design. Prospective randomized controlled trial. Setting. Liljeholmen Primary Care Centre, Stockholm, Sweden. Subjects. 209 patients aged ≥ 65 years with five or more different medications. Intervention. Patients answered a questionnaire regarding medications. The pharmacist reviewed all medications (prescription, non-prescription, and herbal) regarding recommendations and renal impairment, giving advice to patients and GPs. Each patient met the pharmacist before seeing their GP. Control patients received their usual care. Main outcome measures. Drug-related problems and number of drugs. Secondary outcomes included health care utilization and self-rated health during 12 months of follow-up. Results. No significant difference was seen when comparing change in drug-related problems between the groups. However, a significant decrease in drug-related problems was observed in the intervention group (from 1.73 per patient at baseline to 1.31 at follow-up, p < 0.05). The change in number of drugs was more pronounced in the intervention group (p < 0.046). Intervention group patients were not admitted to hospital on fewer occasions or for fewer days, and there was no significant difference between the two groups regarding utilization of primary care during follow-up. Self-rated health remained unchanged in the intervention group, whereas a drop (p < 0.02) was reported in the control group. This resulted in a significant difference in change in self-rated health between the groups (p < 0.047). Conclusions. The addition of a skilled pharmacist to the primary care team may contribute to reductions in numbers of drugs and maintenance of self-rated health in elderly patients with polypharmacy.
Drug-related problems; elderly; general practice; medication review; pharmacist; primary care; Sweden
Age, gender and socioeconomic status have been shown to be associated with the use of prescription drugs, even after adjustment for multimorbidity. General practitioners have a holistic and patient-centred perspective and our hypothesis is that this may reflect on the prescription of drugs. In Sweden the patient may seek secondary care without a letter of referral and the liability of the prescription of drugs accompanies the patient, which makes it suitable for this type of research. In this study we examine the odds of having prescription drug use in the population and the rates of prescription drugs among patients, issued in primary health care, according to age, gender and socioeconomic status after adjustment for multimorbidity level.
Data were collected on all individuals above 20 years of age in Östergötland county with about 400 000 inhabitants in year 2006. The John Hopkins ACG Case-mix was used as a proxy for multimorbidity level. Odds ratio (OR) of having prescription drugs issued in primary health care in the population and rates of prescription drug use among patients in primary health care, stated as incidence rate ratio (IRR), according to age, gender and socioeconomic status were calculated and adjusted for multimorbidity.
After adjustment for multimorbidity, individuals 80 years or older had higher odds ratio (OR 3.37 (CI 95% 3.22-3.52)) and incidence rate ratio (IRR 6.24 (CI 95% 5.79-6.72)) for prescription drug use. Male individuals had a lower odds ratio of having prescription drugs (OR 0.66 (CI 95% 0.64-0.69)), but among patients males had a slightly higher incidence rate of drug use (IRR 1.06 (CI 95% 1.04-1.09)). Individuals with the highest income had the lowest odds ratio of having prescription drugs and individuals with the second lowest income had the highest odds ratio of having prescription drugs (OR 1.10 (CI 95% 1.07-1.13)). Individuals with the highest education had the lowest odds ratio of having prescription drugs (OR 0.61 (CI 95% 0.54-0.67)).
Age, gender and socioeconomic status are associated with large differences in the use of prescribed drugs in primary health care, even after adjustment for multimorbidity level.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-014-0183-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Prescription drug; Pharmacological treatment; Primary health care; General practitioner; Multimorbidity; Case-mix; Gender; Age; Income; Education; Socioeconomic status
Dizziness in older people is associated with disability and reduced quality of life. Few studies have investigated how daily life is affected from the older person’s perspective. Identifying barriers and resources in daily life could guide health care in how to direct efficient interventions. The aim of this study was to explore older persons’ experiences of living with chronic dizziness.
In this qualitative study seven women aged 74–84 years and six men aged 73–87 years with chronic dizziness (≥3 months) recruited from a primary health care centre in 2012 participated in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were analysed by content analysis.
Interpretation of the interviews resulted in the overall theme “Fighting for control in an unpredictable life” with two themes. The first theme “Striving towards normality” revealed a struggle in daily life in searching for a cure or improvement and finding a way to maintain ordinary life. This process could result in feelings of resignation or adaption to daily life, and factors that supported living with chronic dizziness were described. The second theme “Having a precarious existence” revealed that daily life included being exposed to threats such as a fear of recurrent attacks or of falling, which resulted in an insecure and inflexible way of life. A feeling that symptoms were not taken seriously was described.
The present study showed that older persons with chronic dizziness have needs that are not met by health care. Despite the fact that frequent contact with health care was described, the respondents described barriers in daily life that led to a restricted, inflexible and insecure daily life. Health care should therefore be individually tailored with focus on aspects of daily life, especially safety aspects. Support should also be continued until the older persons with chronic dizziness have developed coping strategies to gain control of their daily life.
Aged; Dizziness; Experiences; Support; Content analysis
Objective. To study the associations between active choice of primary care provider and healthcare utilization, multimorbidity, age, and sex, comparing data from primary care and all healthcare in a Swedish population. Design. Descriptive cross-sectional study using descriptive analyses including t-test, correlations, and logistic regression modelling in four separate models. Setting and subjects. The population (151 731) and all healthcare in Blekinge in 2007. Main outcome measure. Actively or passively listed in primary care, registered on 31 December 2007. Results. Number of consultations (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.30–1.32), multimorbidity level (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.67–1.70), age (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.03–1.03), and sex (OR for men 0.67, 95% CI 0.65–0.68) were all associated with registered active listing in primary care. Active listing was more strongly associated with number of consultations and multimorbidity level using primary care data (OR 2.11, 95% CI 2.08–2.15 and OR 2.14, 95% CI 2.11–2.17, respectively) than using data from all healthcare. Number of consultations and multimorbidity level were correlated and had similar associations with active listing in primary care. Modelling number of consultations, multimorbidity level, age, and sex gave four separate models with about 70% explanatory power for active listing in primary care. Combining number of consultations and multimorbidity did not improve the models. Conclusions. Number of consultations and multimorbidity level were associated with active listing in primary care. These factors were also associated with each other differently in primary care than in all healthcare. More complex models including non-health-related individual characteristics and healthcare-related factors are needed to increase explanatory power.
Choice behaviour; general practice; health-related characteristics; healthcare utilization; multimorbidity; primary care; Sweden
It has been reported that there is a difference in drug prescription between males and females. Even after adjustment for multi-morbidity, females tend to use more prescription drugs compared to males. In this study, we wanted to analyse whether the gender difference in drug treatment could be explained by gender-related morbidity.
Data was collected on all individuals 20 years and older in the county of Östergötland in Sweden. The Johns Hopkins ACG Case-Mix System was used to calculate individual level of multi-morbidity. A report from the Swedish National Institute of Public Health using the WHO term DALY was the basis for gender-related morbidity. Prescription drugs used to treat diseases that mainly affect females were excluded from the analyses.
The odds of having prescription drugs for males, compared to females, increased from 0.45 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.44-0.46) to 0.82 (95% CI 0.81-0.83) after exclusion of prescription drugs that are used to treat diseases that mainly affect females.
Gender-related morbidity and the use of anti-conception drugs may explain a large part of the difference in prescription drug use between males and females but still there remains a difference between the genders at 18%. This implicates that it is of importance to take the gender-related morbidity into consideration, and to exclude anti-conception drugs, when performing studies regarding difference in drug use between the genders.
Prescription drugs; Multi-morbidity; Gender difference; Gender-related morbidity
Falls are the most common cause of injuries and hospital admissions in the elderly. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has created a list of drugs considered to increase the fall risk (FRIDs) and drugs that might cause/worsen orthostatism (ODs). This cross-sectional study was aimed to assess FRIDs and their correlation with falls in a sample of 369 community-dwelling and nursing home patients aged ≥75 years and who were using a multi-dose drug dispensing system.
Data were collected from the patients’ electronic medication lists. Retrospective data on reported falls during the previous three months and severe falls during the previous 12 months were collected. Primary outcome measures were incidence of falls as well as numbers of FRIDs and ODs in fallers and non-fallers.
The studied sample had a high incidence of both reported falls (29%) and severe falls (17%). Patients were dispensed a mean of 2.2 (SD 1.5) FRIDs and 2.0 (SD 1.6) ODs. Fallers used on average more FRIDs. Severe falls were more common in nursing homes patients. More women than men experienced severe falls. There were positive associations between number of FRIDs and the total number of drugs (p < 0.01), severe falls (p < 0.01) and female sex (p = 0.03). There were also associations between number of ODs and both total number of drugs (p < 0.01) and being community dwelling (p = 0.02). No association was found between number of ODs and severe falls. Antidepressants and anxiolytics were the most frequently dispensed FRIDs.
Fallers had a higher number of FRIDs. Numbers of FRIDs and ODs were correlated with the total number of drugs dispensed. Interventions to reduce falls in the elderly by focusing on reducing the total number of drugs and withdrawal of psychotropic medications might improve the quality and safety of drug treatment in primary care.
Elderly; Falls; Prevention; Drug therapy; Fall risk-increasing drugs
Case management interventions have been widely used in the care of frail older people. Such interventions often contain components that may act both independently of each other and interdependently, which makes them complex and challenging to evaluate. Qualitative research is needed for complex interventions to explore barriers and facilitators, and to understand the intervention’s components. The objective of this study was to explore frail older people's and case managers’ experiences of a complex case management intervention.
The study had a qualitative explorative design and interviews with participants (age 75-95 years), who had received the case management intervention and six case managers who had performed the intervention were conducted. The data were subjected to content analysis.
The analysis gave two content areas: providing/receiving case management as a model and working as, or interacting with, a case manager as a professional. The results constituted four categories: (1 and 2) case management as entering a new professional role and the case manager as a coaching guard, as seen from the provider’s perspective; and (3 and 4) case management as a possible additional resource and the case manager as a helping hand, as seen from the receiver’s perspective.
The new professional role could be experienced as both challenging and as a barrier. Continuous professional support is seemingly needed for implementation. Mutual confidence and the participants experiencing trust, continuity and security were important elements and an important prerequisite for the case manager to perform the intervention. It was obvious that some older persons had unfulfilled needs that the ordinary health system was unable to meet. The case manager was seemingly able to fulfil some of these needs and was experienced as a valuable complement to the existing health system.
Case management; Frail elderly; Intervention studies; Qualitative evaluation
Medical treatment of hypertension is not always sufficient to achieve blood pressure control. Despite this, previous studies on supplementary therapies, such as yoga, are relatively few. We investigated the effects of two yoga interventions on blood pressure and quality of life in patients in primary health care diagnosed with hypertension.
Adult patients (age 20–80 years) with diagnosed hypertension were identified by an electronic chart search at a primary health care center in southern Sweden. In total, 83 subjects with blood pressure values of 120–179/≤109 mmHg at baseline were enrolled. At baseline, the patients underwent standardized blood pressure measurement at the health care center and they completed a questionnaire on self-rated quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF). There were three groups: 1) yoga class with yoga instructor (n = 28); 2) yoga at home (n = 28); and 3) a control group (n = 27). The participants were matched at the group level for systolic blood pressure. After 12 weeks of intervention, the assessments were performed again. At baseline a majority of the patients (92%) were on antihypertensive medication, and the patients were requested not to change their medication during the study.
The yoga class group showed no improvement in blood pressure or self-rated quality of life, while in the yoga at home group there was a decline in diastolic blood pressure of 4.4 mmHg (p < 0.05) compared to the control group. Moreover, the yoga at home group showed significant improvement in self-rated quality of life compared to the control group (p < 0.05).
A short yoga program for the patient to practice at home seems to have an antihypertensive effect, as well as a positive effect on self-rated quality of life compared to controls. This implies that simple yoga exercises may be useful as a supplementary blood pressure therapy in addition to medical treatment when prescribed by primary care physicians.
Hypertension; Yoga; Quality of life; Primary health care; Complementary therapies
Since the burden of care for elderly patients with heart failure (HF) can be decreased by therapeutic measures, it is important that such patients are identified correctly. This study explores the prevalence of HF in nursing homes in Sweden, with special consideration of the risk of failure to diagnose HF in the study population. A second aim is to explore medication and the adherence to guidelines for the treatment of HF.
429 patients from 11 nursing homes were included during 2008–2011. Information about diagnoses and medications from patient records, blood samples, questionnaire responses and blood pressure measurements were collected. The baseline characteristics of the patients, their medications and one-year mortality were identified and then compared regarding HF diagnosis and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels. A BNP level of >100 ng/L was used to identify potential cases of HF.
The point prevalence of HF diagnosis in the medical records in the study population was 15.4%. With the recommended cut-off value for BNP, up to 196 subjects in the study population (45.7%) qualified for further screening of potential HF.
The subjects in the HF and non-HF groups were similar with the exception of mean age, BNP levels and Mini Mental State Examination results which were higher in the HF group, and the eGFR and blood pressure, which were lower when HF. The subjects with higher BNP values were older and had lower eGFR, Hb, diastolic blood pressure and BMI. The subjects with HF diagnoses were in many cases not treated according to the guidelines. Loop diuretics were often used without concomitant ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers. The subjects without HF diagnoses in the medical records at inclusion but with BNP values >100 ng/L had less appropriate HF medication. The one-year mortality was 52.9% in the population with HF.
Our study suggests that the estimated prevalence of HF in nursing homes in Sweden would increase if BNP measurements were used to select patients for further examinations. The pharmacological treatment of HF varied substantially, as did adherence to guidelines.
The aim of this longitudinal study was to analyze whether mean Body Mass Index (BMI), assessed at four occasions, changed within different age groups and birth cohorts over time, i.e., between 1980/81 and 2004/05, after adjustment for possible confounders.
A sample of 2728 men and 2770 women aged 16–71 years at study start were randomly drawn from the Swedish Total Population Register and followed from 1980/81 to 2004/05. The same sample was assessed on four occasions during the 24-year study period (i.e., every eighth year). The outcome variable, BMI, was based on self-reported height and weight. A mixed model, with random intercept and random slope, was used to estimate annual changes in BMI within the different age groups and birth cohorts.
Mean BMI increased from 24.1 to 25.5 for men and from 23.1 to 24.3 for women during the 24-year study period. The annual change by age group was highest in the ages of 32–39, 40–47 and 48–55 years among men, and in the ages of 24–31, 32–39, and 40–47 years among women. The highest annual changes were found in the youngest birth cohorts for both men and women, i.e., those born 1958–65, 1966–73, and 1974–81. For each birth cohort, the annual change in BMI increased compared to the previous, i.e., older, birth cohort. In addition, age-by-cohort interaction tests revealed that the increase in BMI by increasing age was higher in the younger birth cohorts (1966–1989) than in the older ones.
Public health policies should target those age groups and birth cohorts with the highest increases in BMI. For example, younger birth cohorts had higher annual increases in BMI than older birth cohorts, which means that younger cohorts increased their BMI more than older ones during the study period.
Age; Birth cohort; Body mass index; Longitudinal data; Mixed models
Older patients generally have only poor knowledge about their medicines. Knowledge is important for good adherence and for participating in decisions about treatment. Patients are entitled to be informed on an individual and adequate level. The aim of the study was to explore frail elderly patients’ experiences of receiving information about their medications and their views on how the information should best be given.
The study was qualitative in design and was carried out in 2011. Twelve frail elderly (aged 68–88) participants taking cardiovascular medications participated in semi-structured interviews covering issues related to receiving information about prescribed medicines. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to content analysis, in which the text was analysed in five steps, inspired by Graneheim and Lundman.
The results revealed that the experiences which the elderly participants had regarding the receiving of medical information fell into two main categories: “Comfortable with information” or “Insecure with information”. The elderly felt comfortable when they trusted their physician or their medication, when they received enough information from the prescriber or when they knew how to find out sufficient information by themselves. They felt insecure if they were anxious, if the availability of medical care was poor or if they did not receive enough information.
Factors that frequently caused insecurity about information and anxiety were too short consultations, lack of availability of someone to answer questions or of the opportunity to contact the physician if adverse effects are suspected. These factors could easily be dealt with and there must be improvements in the clinics if the patients´ feelings of security are to be increased.
Elderly; Medication knowledge; Information; Confidence; Qualitative; Content analysis
General practitioners (GPs) often fail to correctly adhere to guidelines for the treatment of hypertension. The reasons for this are unclear, but could be related to lack of knowledge in assessing individual patients' cardiovascular disease risk. Our aim was to investigate how GPs in southern Sweden adhere to clinical guidelines for the treatment of hypertension when major cardiovascular risk factors are taken into consideration.
A questionnaire with five genuine cases of hypertension with different cardiovascular risk profiles was sent to a random sample of GPs in southern Sweden (n = 109) in order to investigate the attitude towards blood pressure (BP) treatment when major cardiovascular risk factors were present.
In general, GPs who responded tended to focus on the absolute target BP rather than assessing the entire cardiovascular risk factor profile. Thus, cases with the highest risk of cardiovascular disease were not treated accordingly. However, there was also a tendency to overtreat the lowest risk individuals. Furthermore, the BP levels for initiating pharmacological treatment varied widely (systolic BP 140-210 mmHg). ACE inhibitors (70%) were the most common first choice of pharmacological treatment.
In this study, GPs in Southern Sweden were suggesting, for different cases, either under- or overtreatment in relation to current guidelines for treatment of hypertension. On reason may be that they failed to correctly assess individual cardiovascular risk factor profiles.
Hypertension; Adherence; Guidelines; Treatment; Primary care
Background. Evidence-based guidelines should in most cases be followed also in the treatment of elderly. Older people are often suboptimally treated with the recommended drugs. Objectives. To describe how well general practitioners adhere to current guidelines in the treatment of elderly with cardiovascular disease and evaluate local education as a tool for improvement. Method. Data was collected from the medical records of patients aged ≥65, who visited a primary health care center in Sweden 2006 and had one or more of the following diagnoses: hypertension, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, chronic atrial fibrillation, or prior stroke. Local education was organized and included feed-back to the patient's doctor and discussion about regional guidelines. Repeated measurements were performed in 2008. Results and Conclusion. The adherence to guidelines was low. Approximately one-third of the patients with hypertension reached target blood pressure, stroke patients more often. More patients with heart failure were treated with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor than in other European countries, but still only 60%. Half of the patients with chronic atrial fibrillation were treated with Warfarin, although more than two-thirds had a CHADS2 score indicating the need. Educational efforts appeared to increase the adherence and hence should be encouraged.
Renal function decreases with age. Dosage adjustment according to renal function is indicated for many drugs, in order to avoid adverse reactions of medications and/or aggravation of renal impairment. There are several ways to assess renal function in the elderly, but no way is ideal. The aim of the study was to explore renal function in elderly subjects in nursing homes and the use of pharmaceuticals that may be harmful to patients with renal impairment.
243 elderly subjects living in nursing homes were included. S-creatinine and s-cystatin c were analysed. Renal function was estimated using Cockcroft-Gault formula, Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) and cystatin C-estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Concomitant medication was registered and four groups of renal risk drugs were identified: metformin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), angiotensin-converting enzyme -inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers and digoxin. Descriptive statistics and the Kappa test for concordance were used.
Reduced renal function (cystatin C-estimated GFR < 60 ml/min) was seen in 53%. Normal s-creatinine was seen in 41% of those with renal impairment. Renal risk drugs were rather rarely prescribed, with exception for ACE-inhibitors. Poor concordance was seen between the GFR estimates as concluded by other studies.
The physician has to be observant on renal function when prescribing medications to the elderly patient and not only rely on s-creatinine level. GFR has to be estimated before prescribing renal risk drugs, but using different estimates may give divergence in the results.
To evaluate barriers to adherence to hypertension guidelines among publicly employed general practitioners (GPs).
Questionnaire-based survey distributed to GPs in 24 randomly selected primary care centres in the Region of Skåne in southern Sweden.
A total of 109 GPs received a self-administered questionnaire and 90 of them responded.
Main outcome measures
Use of risk assessment programmes. Reasons to postpone or abstain from pharmacological treatment for the management of hypertension.
Reported managing of high blood pressure (BP) varied. In all, 53% (95% CI 42–64%) of the GPs used risk assessment programmes and nine out of 10 acknowledged blood pressure target levels. Only one in 10 did not inform the patients about these levels. The range for immediate initiating pharmacological treatment was a systolic BP 140–220 (median 170) mmHg and diastolic BP 90–110 (median 100) mmHg. One-third (32%; 95% CI 22–42%) of the GPs postponed or abstained from pharmacological treatment of hypertension due to a patient's advanced age. No statistically significant associations were observed between GPs’ gender, professional experience (i.e. in terms of specialist family medicine and by number of years in practice), and specific reasons to postpone or abstain from pharmacological treatment of hypertension.
These data suggest that GPs accept higher blood pressure levels than recommended in clinical guidelines. Old age of the patient seems to be an important barrier among GPs when considering pharmacological treatment for the management of hypertension.
Barriers; family practice; guidelines; hypertension; primary care; survey