Survey-reported medication changes among older adults during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic (Abstract)

Survey-reported medication changes among older adults during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic (Abstract)

Res Social Adm Pharm
12 Nov 2020

Background: Speculation on benefits and harms of prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medications has been widespread during the SARS-CoV-2 (or COVID-19) pandemic. This community-based survey assessed self-reported changes in medications including those stopped, started, or if access had been impacted.

Methods: A survey was collected via Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). The survey was advertised in the community through social media, email lists, websites, and post-cards. Survey responses were collected between 5/21/2020 and 6/24/2020. Variables included demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, marital status, education, employment, income, and community type. Questions related to medication changes included: "Have you started any medication due to COVID-19?", "Have you stopped any medication due to COVID-19?" and "Have you had issues getting your prescription medications?". Respondents aged 50 years or older were included.

Results: There were N = 1397 responses of which 1169 were older adults ≥50 years-old. Of these, 1141 responded to the medication changes survey questions and 28 had missing responses and were excluded from the survey sample for this analysis. Among these, 31 (2.7%) reported a medication change included 5 (0.4%) reported stopping a medication, 18 (1.6%) reported starting a medication, and 8 (0.7%) reported trouble obtaining medications. Medications started included mostly vitamins or other supplements including zinc (n = 9), vitamin C (6), and other supplements (3). Among prescription medications, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications (4) were reported as well as aspirin (1), losartan (1), and low dose naltrexone (1). One respondent reported unidentified homeopathy. There were no significant differences between those with medication changes and those with none.

Conclusions: In this community-based survey sample of over one thousand older adults, only a small percentage (2.7%; n = 31) reported any changes to medications during the pandemic. As essential workers during this crisis, pharmacists have played a critical role in providing medication information and continued access.

Keywords: Access; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Medications; Pharmacists; SARS-CoV-2.