Medication management at home: medication-related risk factors associated with poor health outcomes

Age Ageing. 2005 Nov;34(6):626-32. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afi202.


Background: Some patients may have medication-related risk factors only identified by home visits, but the extent to which those risk factors are associated with poor health outcomes remains unclear.

Objective: To determine the association between medication-related risk factors and poor patient health outcomes from observations in the patients' homes.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Patients' homes.

Subjects: 204 general practice patients living in their own homes and at risk of medication-related poor health outcomes.

Methods: Medications and medication-related risk factors were identified in the patients' homes by community pharmacists and general practitioners (GPs). The medication-related risk factors were examined as determinants of patients' self-reported health related quality of life (SF-36) and their medication use, as well as physicians' impression of patient adverse drug events and health status.

Results: Key medication-related risk factors associated with poor health outcomes included: Lack of any medication administration routine, therapeutic duplication, hoarding, confusion between generic and trade names, multiple prescribers, discontinued medication repeats retained and multiple storage locations. Older age and female gender were associated with some poorer health outcomes. In addition, expired medication and poor adherence were also associated with poor health outcomes, however, not independently.

Conclusion: The findings support the theory that polypharmacy and medication-related risk factors as a result of polypharmacy are correlated to poor health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patients*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Administration*