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.