Background: cross-national comparisons can be used to explore therapeutic areas and identify potential medication issues.
Methods: we used cross-sectional pharmacy supply data to explore medication use for nursing home residents in Australia (AU n = 26 homes, 1,560 residents) and the Netherlands (NL n = 6 homes, 2,037 residents). Binary logistic regression analysis was used to calculate the sex and aged adjusted odds ratios (OR) and associated 95% confidence intervals with a flexible Bonferroni-Holm procedure used to adjust for multiple hypothesis testing.
Results: total use of antipsychotics (AU: 37.7%, NL: 40.3%; OR 0.91 (0.79-1.04, P = 0.16) and antibacterials (66.8% AU, 62.4% NL, OR 1.08 (0.93-1.24, P = 0.31) was similar, but choice of individual agents differed between the two countries. Differences were observed in the use of antithrombotics (46.7% AU, 64.7% NL, OR 0.48 (0.42-0.56, P > 0.01), ophthalmologicals (44.3% AU, 22.1% NL, OR 2.80 (2.42-3.24, P <0.001), laxatives (77.1% AU, 65.8% NL, OR 1.65 (1.41-1.92, P <0.001).
Conclusion: while the general prevalence of medication use in nursing home residents was similar across the two countries, distinct differences existed in the choice of agent among therapeutic groups. Comparing use between countries identified a number of potential medication related problem areas that need further exploration.