Medication comprehension and safety in older adults

LDI Issue Brief. Sep-Oct 2008;14(1):1-4.


Older adults constitute just 13% of the U.S. population, but consume 35% of all prescription drugs. They are at a particularly high risk of serious adverse events due to errors in medication-taking, but little is known about the instructions community-dwelling elders receive about their medications, or how they organize their medications at home. This Issue Brief summarizes research that describes home-based patterns of medication use in elderly patients, and for one high-risk medication, analyzes the relationship between recall of instructions and subsequent drug-related hospitalizations. These findings may help clinicians better predict and monitor their patients' adherence to prescription drug regimens.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comprehension*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Medication Errors*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Outpatients
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Prescription Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Safety*
  • Self Administration / adverse effects*
  • United States


  • Prescription Drugs