Table 1. PCERS patients and GPs characteristics
Individuals on ONS, n = 912%Median (range)
Age 76 (18 to 101)
≥18 to 44 years11.3
≥45 to 64 years21.8
≥65 years66.9
South/south east Dublin16.0
West/south west Dublin41.4
North/north west Dublin42.5
Residential status
Living in residential care18.2
Living independently81.7
Number of ONS products in 2018 1 (1 to 4)
Number of ONS units in 2018 660 (12 to 3250)
Patients on more than 1 ONS 10.0
Patients on ONS previous year 96.2
Number of medications 6.0(0 to 18)
No polypharmacy (<5 drugs)32.9
Polypharmacy (≥5 drugs)45.6
Excessive polypharmacy (≥10)21.5
Patient CNS drug dispensed a
No CNS drug24.8
CNS drug (<5 drugs)65.9
CNS polypharmacy or excessive polypharmacy (≥5 drugs)9.3
Patient circulatory drug dispensed b
No circulatory drug38.4
Circulatory drug (<5 drugs)42.7
Circulatory polypharmacy or excessive polypharmacy (≥5 drugs)19.0
GPs, n = 405
Age 53 (33 to 72)
≥18 to 44 years23.2
≥45 to 64 years61.5
≥65 years15.3
South/south east Dublin23.2
West/south west Dublin35.1
North/north west Dublin39.3
Otherc 2.5
Number of patients on ONS 2 (1 to 17)
GPs with > 2 patients on ONS 27.9
  • aCNS medication include drugs to treat anxiety; insomnia; psychoses; mood disorders; obsessive compulsive disorder; nausea; vomiting; vertigo; epilepsy and seizures; Parkinson's; Alzheimer's; multiple sclerosis; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and narcolepsy. bCirculatory medication include drugs to treat hypertension; oedema; heart failure; arrhythmias; angina; prevent myocardial infarction, stroke, and vascular events; hypercholesterolaemia; vascular diseases such as Raynaud's and pulmonary arterial hypertension; haemorrhage; anaemia and neutropenia. cA minority of patients attended GPs with practices in different areas to their residential area.

  • CNS = central nervous system. GP = general practitioner. ONS = oral nutritional supplements. PCERS = Primary Care and Eligibility Reimbursement Service.