Medication to reduce blood pressure reduces the incidence of cardiovascular diseases. The evidence of this is weaker in the elderly, and furthermore, the chance of side-effects of the medication requiring hospitalization and an associated reduction in quality of life is higher. Often, the patients have complained to the general practitioner (GP)of symptoms which could be caused by medicinal side-effects prior to hospitalization. GPs therefore need tools which enable them to identify elderly patients who are at risk of side-effect and for whom pro-active reduction of blood pressure medication is warranted.
Erasmus MC will create and implement an electronic decision rule for GPs to identify this population. Then the GP can discuss the risks with the patient and they can together decide on a strategy to reduce use of blood pressure medication.
Widespread implementation of a effective decision rule will enable patients to help direct their own medication use and quality of life. By preventing severe side-effects and the associated hospitalization, both financial and social benefits for the individual as well as for society as a whole will be realized.