Drugs & Aging

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 269–277 | Cite as

Higher Fit-fOR-The-Aged (FORTA) Scores Comprising Medication Errors are Associated with Impaired Cognitive and Physical Function Tests in the VALFORTA Trial

  • Farhad Pazan
  • Heinrich Burkhardt
  • Helmut Frohnhofen
  • Christel Weiss
  • Christina Throm
  • Alexandra Kuhn-Thiel
  • Martin WehlingEmail author
Original Research Article



The Fit fOR The Aged (FORTA) list, a drug classification combining positive and negative labelling of drugs, has been clinically (VALFORTA-trial) validated to improve medication quality and clinical endpoints.


The objective of this study was to determine the association of medication quality with functional abilities tested in cognitive and physical function tests.

Patients and Methods

Data from the prospective, randomized controlled VALFORTA trial on 409 geriatric (mean age 81.53 years) in-hospital patients were tested for associations between the FORTA score (sum of over- and under-treatment errors) on admission and cognitive and physical function tests. Univariate and multivariate linear correlations corrected for age, sex, number of medications, number of chronic conditions, and body mass index as well as comparisons between high and low FORTA-score (cut-off 3) patients were performed.


The FORTA score was significantly correlated with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (p < 0.0001), the Tinetti test (p < 0.002), Essen Questionnaire on Age and Sleepiness (p < 0.0001), Mini-Mental State Examination (p < 0.0001), and handgrip strength (p < 0.04) in the univariate analysis, and with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (p < 0.003), the Tinetti test (p < 0.003), and the Essen Questionnaire on Age and Sleepiness (p < 0.0001) in the multivariate analysis. Effect size was weak for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (R-squared = 0.12) and the Tinetti test (R-squared = 0.03) and medium for the Essen Questionnaire on Age and Sleepiness (R-squared = 0.22). Significant differences between patients with high and low FORTA scores were found for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, the Tinetti test, mini-nutritional assessments, Mini-Mental State Examination, Essen Questionnaire on Age and Sleepiness, and the Geriatric Depression Scale. All significant tests revealed that higher FORTA scores (lower medication quality) were associated with less favorable test outcomes.


The FORTA score is associated with relevant aspects of comprehensive geriatric assessment, underlining the importance of medication quality for the functional and cognitive well-being of older patients.

Trial Registration Number



Compliance with Ethical Standards


The study was funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation (WE 1184/15-1 to Martin Wehling and Heinrich Burkhardt, FR2997/2-1 to Helmut Frohnhofen).

Conflict of Interest

Martin Wehling was employed by AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal, as the director of discovery medicine (translational medicine) from 2003 to 2006, while on sabbatical leave from his professorship at the University of Heidelberg. Since returning to this position in January 2007, he has received lecturing and consulting fees from Sanofi-Aventis, Bayer, Berlin-Chemie, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Aspen, Novartis, Takeda, Roche, Pfizer, Bristol-Myers, Daichii-Sankyo, Lilly, Otsuka, Novo-Nordisk, Shire, and LEO Pharma. Helmut Frohnhofen received lecturing and consulting fees from Amgen. Farhad Pazan, Heinrich Burkhardt, Christina Throm, Alexandra Kuhn-Thiel, and Christel Weiss have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the contents of this study.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University and the Ethics Committee of the University of Witten-Herdecke.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

40266_2018_626_MOESM1_ESM.docx (175 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 175 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farhad Pazan
    • 1
  • Heinrich Burkhardt
    • 2
  • Helmut Frohnhofen
    • 3
  • Christel Weiss
    • 4
  • Christina Throm
    • 5
  • Alexandra Kuhn-Thiel
    • 6
  • Martin Wehling
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Medical Faculty Mannheim, Institute for Clinical PharmacologyRuprecht-Karls-University HeidelbergMannheimGermany
  2. 2.IV. Medical Department, Geriatrics, University Hospital MannheimHeidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Faculty of HealthUniversity Witten-HerdeckeWittenGermany
  4. 4.Department of Medical Statistics, Biomathematics and Information Processing, Medical Faculty MannheimHeidelberg UniversityMannheimGermany
  5. 5.Department of Cardiology and AngiologyAgaplesion Markus HospitalFrankfurtGermany
  6. 6.MEDIAN Klinik SonnenwendeBad DürkheimGermany

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