Pharmacoepidemiology may be defined as the study of the utilization and effects of drugs in large numbers of people. To accomplish this study, pharmacoepidemiology borrows from both pharmacology and epidemiology. Thus, pharmacoepidemiology can be called a bridge science spanning both pharmacology and epidemiology. (ISPE Website)

In collaboration with Dr Joseph Hanlon (Division of Geriatrics), Drs. Richard Boyce, Steve Handler, and Roger Day are investigating if there is a clinically relevant association between pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions (DDIs) involving psychotropic drugs and one of the most common causes of injury and morbidity among elderly nursing home (NH) residents: falls. The study, "The effect of known metabolic drug-drug interactions involving psychotropic drugs on the risk of experiencing a fall in the nursing home setting," is an observational cohort study in the four University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Senior Living Community nursing homes. So far we have constructed a knowledge-base that identifies highly-metabolized psychotropic medications, the specific metabolic clearance pathways they depend on, and drugs that can affect their clearance by metabolic inhibition. We are currently leveraging existing resources, including the Medical Archival System–Long-Term Care (MARS-LTC) data repository, to determine if the potential metabolic inhibition DDIs identified in the new knowledge-base are associated with an increased risk of falls among UPMC NH residents. This study is funded by a pilot grant from the University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging.