Frequency of risk factors that potentially increase harm from medications in older adults receiving primary care

Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Fall;14(3):e283-90. Epub 2007 Nov 1.


Background: Many circumstances elevate patients, especially older adults, risk for drug-related morbidity and misadventures. Understanding the frequency of these situations can help with the design of initiatives to address or alter these circumstances with the aim of reducing medication therapy-related concerns and associated expenditures.

Objective: To describe the frequency of circumstances that may place older adults at higher risk for drug-related morbidity and misadventures in a large sample of elderly patients visiting family medicine clinics.

Methods: Elderly adults at 7 family medicine practices across Ontario self-completed the 10-item Medication Risk Questionnaire (MRQ).

Results: Surveys were completed by 907 patients, with a mean age of 72.4 (SD 10.7) years and a mean number of 4.8 medical conditions (SD 2.3; min-max: 0-14). Many subjects were taking multiple medications (mean 6.9 (SD 3.8; min-max: 0-21)) and over 90% of respondents reported at least one indicator that potentially increases their risk of drug-related morbidity.

Conclusion: Number of medications, number of medical conditions and number of daily medication doses were the most frequently observed risks for medication-related issues in this large sample of elderly patients visiting family medicine clinics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Risk Factors