12.3. Nine out of ten elderly people use cardiovascular medicines

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of social pharmacy

Doctoral candidate: MSc (Pharm) Päivi Tuikkala

Time and venue 12.3.2011 at 12 noon, Mediteknia Auditorium, Kuopio Campus

Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for one-third of global deaths and during recent years cardiovascular medicines have been the most commonly used medication among elderly persons. Today there are no age-specific guidelines on how to treat cardiovascular diseases in the elderly population. The target levels of blood pressure and blood lipids as well as the values at which treatments is started have become lower and lower over the years also among elderly persons.

The present series of studies were designated to examine the use of cardiovascular medicines use with a special emphasis on blood pressure and serum lipids. According to the study, the use of cardiovascular medicines was common among elderly persons and the proportion of users increases with age and over time. In addition, the trend in current statin use seems to be moving towards more extensive use. The result shows that low serum total cholesterol level was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality among elderly who did not use serum lipid modifying medication.

In studies concentrating on blood pressures, the orthostatic hypotension and drops in blood pressure seem to be more common than has previously been reported.The more medicines are in regular use, the more common is orthostatic hypotension.

Since the increased and concomitant use of several cardiovascular medicines among elderly persons makes them sensitive to partly unknown adverse effects, it is important to assess the patient’s physical function and outcomes of treatment. As well the medication monitoring focused on elderly patients and cardiovascular medication might optimise treatment and improve the quality of care for a large proportion of elderly persons.

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Pharm) Päivi Tuikkala, entitled Cardiovascular medicines use in elderly population - Emphasis on blood pressure and serum lipids will be examinedat the Faculty of Health Sciences. The opponent in the public examination will be Professor Aulikki Nissinen of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, and the custos will be Professor Sirpa Hartikainen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/uef/vaitoskuvat

Contact: Päivi Tuikkala, tel. 040 738 4367, paivi.tuikkala@uef.fi

Publishing year: 2011

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