Prevalence of self-reported risk factors for medication misadventure among older people in general practice

J Eval Clin Pract. 2008 Apr;14(2):203-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2007.00833.x. Epub 2008 Feb 18.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of risk factors for medication misadventures among older people in general practice.

Design: Descriptive cross-sectional analysis.

Setting: General practices, New South Wales, Australia.

Participants: Twenty general practitioners in 16 practices recruited 849 practice attendees aged 65 years and over.

Outcome measure: Risk factors for medication misadventures.

Results: Almost all participants (95%) had used at least one medication for more than 6 months. More than half of the participants had more than one doctor involved in their care (59%), had three or more health conditions (57%), or used five or more medicines (54%). With regard to potential adverse drug reactions, in the last month 39% of participants experienced difficulties sleeping, one-third felt drowsy or dizzy (34%), and about a quarter had a skin rash (28%), leaked urine (27%), had stomach problems (22%) or had been constipated (22%). The most common compliance problems were experiencing side effects (14%) and having difficulties opening bottles or packets/applying the medicine (10%).

Conclusion: Risk factors for medication misadventure remain a substantial problem among older people. A Medication Risk Assessment Form completed by patients can be used as an aid to increase general practitioners' awareness of a variety of problem areas associated with medication use in a compact way, and could be used as part of a system for medication review to determine whether actions are required to improve quality use of medicines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Incompatibility*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New South Wales
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Disclosure