Table 1

Study population characteristics at July 2009

Characteristics*Proportion (%) and number of medications in 3 months prior to July 2009†
0–45–9≥10
Total53.6 (70 537)34.4 (45 283)11.9 (15 663)
Age group (years)
 45–4975.9 (4127)18.5 (1006)5.5 (301)
 50–5470.4 (5135)22.7 (1654)7.0 (510)
 55–5967.0 (8015)24.9 (2976)8.1 (970)
 60–6465.2 (14 855)26.9 (6129)7.9 (1790)
 65–6957.4 (16 132)33.5 (9395)9.1 (2555)
 70–7447.7 (10 244)39.3 (8447)13.0 (2787)
 75–7938.4 (5883)43.8 (6709)17.7 (2715)
 80–8433.0 (4667)46.8 (6612)20.2 (2856)
 ≥8529.5 (1479)47.0 (2355)23.5 (1179)
 Sex
 Male54.4 (32 274)34.4 (20 410)11.3 (6683)
 Female53.1 (38 263)34.5 (24 873)12.5 (8980)
Language Other Than English
 No53.9 (63 799)34.5 (40 815)11.7 (13 853)
 Yes51.8 (6738)34.3 (4468)13.9 (1810)
Marital status
 Partnered55.9 (50 794)33.4 (30 320)10.7 (9734)
 Single48.5 (19 318)36.9 (14 676)14.6 (5811)
Education
 No school certificate43.2 (9898)39.9 (9162)16.9 (3874)
 School certificate52.7 (25 286)35.4 (16 982)11.8 (5680)
 Trade or diploma56.9 (23 099)32.7 (13 278)10.4 (4208)
 Degree or higher64.2 (10 929)27.7 (4709)8.1 (1386)
Residence
 Metro50.5 (27 255)35.9 (19 370)13.6 (7331)
 Regional55.9 (41 872)33.4 (25 022)10.7 (8001)
 Remote53.2 (1371)34.2 (882)12.6 (325)
Annual household income ($A)
 <20 00045.3 (20 362)39.2 (17 606)15.4 (6937)
 20 000–69 99961.1 (29 365)30.7 (14 743)8.2 (3944)
 ≥70 00079.2 (4311)17.1 (931)3.7 (203)
Private insurance
 No50.7 (32 144)35.9 (22 778)13.5 (8535)
 Yes56.4 (38 390)33.1 (22 502)10.5 (7126)
Paid work
 No47.4 (48 135)38.5 (39 070)14.2 (14 389)
 Yes75.0 (22 402)20.8 (6213)4.3 (1274)
Smoking
 Never55.9 (40 271)33.5 (24 156)10.5 (7585)
 Past49.4 (24 302)36.5 (17 988)14.1 (6925)
 Current58.7 (5742)30.3 (2962)11.0 (1074)
Alcohol drinks (per week)
 048.3 (24 636)36.7 (18 719)15.0 (7639)
 1–1457.6 (34 838)32.7 (19 749)9.7 (5844)
 ≥1558.1 (9412)32.7 (5298)9.2 (1486)
BMI (kg/m2)
 Normal61.4 (26 158)29.9 (12 751)8.7 (3728)
 Underweight57.3 (1014)31.1 (551)11.6 (205)
 Overweight54.5 (25 852)34.8 (16 526)10.7 (5082)
 Obese42.5 (11 993)39.8 (11 223)17.7 (4994)
Physical functioning impairment
 No78.3 (18 551)19.2 (4541)2.6 (608)
 Minor68.1 (20 049)27.7 (8152)4.2 (1225)
 Moderate47.9 (16 063)41.0 (13 774)11.1 (3721)
 Severe25.8 (5748)44.4 (9883)29.8 (6633)
Psychological distress
 Low59.7 (49 727)32.0 (26 648)8.4 (6968)
 Moderate48.4 (8087)35.9 (5999)15.7 (2629)
 High42.4 (4158)36.7 (3602)20.9 (2 045)
Hearing impairment
 No57.1 (38 920)32.6 (22 236)10.3 (7039)
 Yes50.1 (29 461)36.4 (21 372)13.5 (7936)
Memory impairment
 No56.6 (55 783)32.9 (32 431)10.5 (10 311)
 Yes44.4 (12 318)39.3 (10 891)16.3 (4 528)
Vision impairment
 No56.7 (57 265)33.2 (33 551)10.1 (10 164)
 Yes42.6 (10 618)38.7 (9645)18.6 (4640)
Self-reported cancers
 No55.4 (58 706)33.5 (35 460)11.2 (11 819)
 Yes46.4 (11 831)38.5 (9823)15.1 (3844)
Self-reported circulatory diseases
 No60.1 (63 722)31.2 (33 045)8.7 (9242)
 Yes26.8 (6815)48.0 (12 238)25.2 (6421)
Self-reported diabetes
 No58.1 (67 131)32.5 (37 495)9.4 (10 866)
 Yes21.3 (3406)48.7 (7788)30.0 (4797)
Self-reported poor health
 No60.6 (61 630)32.0 (32 552)7.4 (7557)
 Yes26.7 (6399)43.7 (10 494)29.6 (7104)
Beers Criteria list medicines †
 No77.5 (50 898)20.3 (13 347)2.2 (1464)
 Yes29.9 (19 639)48.6 (31 936)21.6 (14 199)
NTI medicines†‡
 No60.4 (66 087)31.7 (34 713)7.9 (8595)
 Yes20.2 (4450)47.8 (10 570)32.0 (7068)
Drug Burden Index medicines†
 No70.3 (57 804)25.9 (21 257)3.8 (3119)
 Yes25.8 (12 733)48.7 (24 026)25.4 (12 544)
Number of different doctors†
 ≤274.9 (40 580)22.3 (12 061)2.9 (1558)
 3 or 450.8 (18 328)39.7 (14 313)9.5 (3419)
 ≥528.2 (11 629)45.9 (18 909)25.9 (10 686)
Hospitalisation†
 No54.1 (70 343)34.4 (44 769)11.5 (15 026)
 Yes14.4 (194)38.2 (514)47.4 (637)
HMR (12 months prior)
 No54.1 (70 409)34.3 (44 637)11.5 (15 022)
 Yes9.0 (128)45.7 (646)45.3 (641)
  • *Missing categories were not presented.

  • †Data were presented as proportions (and numbers). We used the linked PBS data (April–June 2009), MBS data (April–June 2009) and APDC data (April–June 2009) to identify recent medication use, number of different doctors visited and recent hospitalisation during the 3 months prior to 1 July 2009, respectively.

  • ‡NTI drugs include digoxin, amiodarone, lignocaine, quinidine, flecainide, mexilitine, salicylate, perhexiline, theophylline, phenytoin, carbamazepine, sodium valproate, phenobarbitone, gentamicin, amikacin, vancomycin, lithium, warfarin, methotrexate, insulin, ciclosporin, levothyroxine, tacrolimus, bupropion, primidone, etravirine, enoxaparin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, apixaban, cyclosproine, sirolimus, edoxaban, tobramycin and netilmicin.

  • APDC, admitted patient data collection; BMI, body mass index; HMR, home medicines review; MBS, Medicare Benefits Schedule; NTI, Narrow Therapeutic Index; PBS, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.