Congruence of self-reported medications with pharmacy prescription records in low-income older adults

Gerontologist. 2004 Apr;44(2):176-85. doi: 10.1093/geront/44.2.176.


Purpose: This study examined the congruence of self-reported medications with computerized pharmacy records.

Design and methods: Pharmacy records and self-reported medications were obtained for 294 members of a state pharmaceutical assistance program who also participated in ACTIVE, a clinical trial on cognitive training in nondemented elderly persons. The average age of the sample participants was 74.5 years (range = 65-91); 87.8% were females.

Results: Congruence between self-report and pharmacy data was generally high. Self-reports omitted drug classes in the pharmacy records less often than the pharmacy records did not include self-reported drug classes. The percentage of individuals with perfect agreement between self-reports and pharmacy records varied from 49% for major drug classes to 81% for specific cardiovascular and central nervous system drugs. Within a drug class, agreement tended to be higher for individuals without a prescription in that class. Poorer health was consistently related to poorer self-report of medications.

Implications: Self-reported medications are most likely to be congruent with pharmacy records for drugs prescribed for more serious conditions, for more specific classes of drugs, and for healthier individuals.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems / standards*
  • Drug Prescriptions / classification
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pharmacies
  • Poverty
  • Records
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Administration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Disclosure*