Medication quality and quality of life in the elderly, a cohort study

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2011 Nov 3;9:95. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-9-95.


Background: Modern drugs have made large contributions to better health and quality of life. Increasing proportions of negative side effects due to extensive pharmacological treatment are however observed especially among elderly patients who have multiple health problems. The aim of our study was to see if there is an association between medication quality and quality of life.

Methods: 150 patients discharged from hospital. Inclusion criteria were: living in ordinary homes, ≥ 75 years and ≥ 5 drugs. Home visits were performed to all, including prescription reviews and calculation of medication appropriateness index. The patients were divided into three groups depending on index score and followed for 12 months. The validated and recognized EQ-5D and EQ VAS instruments were used to assess quality of life.

Results: A lower medication quality was associated with a lower quality of life. EQ-5D index was statistically significantly different (declining for each group) among the groups (p = 0.001 at study start, p = 0.001 at 6 months and p = 0.013 at 12 months) as was EQ VAS (p = 0.026 at study start, p = 0.003 at 6 months and p = 0.007 at 12 months).

Conclusions: This study has shown the validity of the basic principle in prescribing: the more appropriate medication the better quality of life. Since drug quality is related to the patients' quality of life, there is immense reason to continuously evaluate every prescription and treatment. The evaluation and if possible deprescribing should be done as a process where both the patient and physician are involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge
  • Polypharmacy*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden