Research Study on the Prophylaxis of Gastrointestinal Side Effects of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Nova Scotia Senior Population
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This internship was performed as part of Drug Use Management and Policy Research Residency Program at the College of Pharmacy and involved developing a research project under the supervision of Dr. Sander van Zanten from the Gastroenterology research unit, Centre for Clinical Research. The main objective was to assist decision makers in examining the appropriateness of prescribing gastroprotective agents especially as it relates to advanced age that is considered a risk factor for people taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The main responsibilities were to do a retrospective database analysis of seniors who are participants in the Nova Scotia Pharmacare drug program, to supplement it with a literature review to and to attend the biweekly knowledge development and skills building workshops provided through the Drug Use Management and Policy Research Residency Program. This project is relevant for Health Informatics because it addresses real life health care problems using the tools and skills from computer science. Analyzing the huge amounts of data from health care databases of various institutions is one of the areas where Health Informatics students can find jobs. Data was extracted from Population Health Research Unit (PHRU) and imported into an Access database. A cohort was created and data was analyzed using Structured Query Language (SQL) and Visual Basic. A statistical analysis was performed to see how coprescribing varies with age. The most important finding is that the likelihood of being coprescribed GPAs with NSAIDs does not appear to be associated with increasing age even though the literature shows age to be an independent risk factor for serious GI complications. The results suggest an inadequate prevention of gastrointestinal side effects related to advanced age and NSAID use in Nova Scotia elderly population.