The aim of this study was to investigate the spontaneous reports of suspected adverse drug reactions, observed in elderly patients (over 65 years of age) in Sicily (Italy) during the period from 1 January 1995 to 31 December 1997. Of 1307 reports, the geriatric ADRs were 284 (21.7%); 92 (32.4%) of these were serious. There was a correlation between the reporting rates of ADRs and the increase of age. Similar trends are seen in the number of serious ADR reports. Old-older patients result most frequently affected by serious ADRs. The antimicrobial and musculo-skeletal drugs were responsible for 48.3% of the whole suspected geriatric ADRs. The commonest ADRs reported for the elderly, affected skin and the gastrointestinal system. There was probably a correlation between multi-drug consumption, comorbidity and seriousness of ADRs. A higher percentage of serious ADRs originated from university hospitals (57.1%).
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