Background: Frail elderly outpatients often receive medicines from community nurses. There is little knowledge of how general practitioners (GPs) and nurses update and coordinate their medication lists for their shared patients.
Material and methods: Lists of regular medication for 90 randomly selected shared patients from GPs as well as community nurses were assessed with respect to agreement. An agreement score was calculated for number of medicines and for each drug: total daily dosage and dose regimen. Routines for updating medication lists were addressed in a questionnaire to GPs and community nurses.
Results: For three out of four patients, discrepancies were found between physicians' and nurses' lists of regular medication. 52% of the discrepancies were in relation to cardiovascular drugs and psychotropic drugs. Only 41% of the GPs reported explicit routines for updating their medication lists.
Interpretation: The GPs' lack of knowledge of what their patients actually receive may contribute to medication errors and adverse drug reactions.