Frail elderly patients in primary care--their medication knowledge and beliefs about prescribed medicines

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Feb;65(2):151-5. doi: 10.1007/s00228-008-0581-8. Epub 2008 Oct 29.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe elderly patients' knowledge about and attitudes towards their medicines in Swedish primary care.

Methods: Thirty-four patients aged 65 years and above with multiple illnesses were included. Medication knowledge was assessed with a questionnaire measuring knowledge about indication and possible adverse effects for each medicine. Attitudes were investigated with the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire.

Results: The indication of at least 75% of their medicines was known to 71% of the patients. Patients with polypharmacy and multi-dose drug distribution respectively had significantly less knowledge. Eighty-four percent had no knowledge about possible adverse effects. For 93% of the patients, the benefits of the medication outweighed the costs (concerns). No correlation was found between attitudes and knowledge.

Conclusions: The knowledge about indication was higher than previously seen, but the knowledge about possible adverse effects was poor. The patients had strong beliefs in the benefits of their medication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Decision Trees
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug Utilization Review / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polypharmacy
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden