A study of medication reviews to identify drug-related problems of polypharmacy patients in the Dutch nursing home setting

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2007 Oct;32(5):469-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2007.00849.x.


Background: Little is known about the extent of drug-related problems of polypharmacy patients in Dutch nursing homes.

Objectives: We investigated the feasibility of teams of hospital pharmacists and nursing home physicians carrying out medication reviews. We aimed to identify the number and nature of drug-related problems of nursing home patients receiving more than nine drugs (polypharmacy).

Methods: The study was carried out in five Dutch nursing homes (n = 742 beds) between October 2005 and May 2006. Ninety-one polypharmacy patients, (average age 80 years) were included. A medication review was carried out by teams consisting of one hospital pharmacist and the patient's nursing home physician with a follow-up meeting of the same team 6 weeks later.

Results: A total of 323 drug-related problems were identified (mean of 3.5 problems per patient). Sixty-two per cent of problems, in 87% of patients, were classified as 'unclear or not confirmed indication or need for review' of the prescribed drug. By the time of the follow-up, a mean of 1.7 (n = 159) problems per patient had been solved and the number of drugs per patient had decreased significantly from 13.5 to 12.7 (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: The majority of patients had at least one drug prescribed for which the indication was unknown. The intervention was accompanied by a significant decrease in the number of drugs per patient, but half of the drug-related problems remained unsolved.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Utilization Review*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Nursing Homes / organization & administration*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Physicians / organization & administration
  • Polypharmacy*