The elderly population is at great risk for medication-related problems as a result of age-related physiological changes, the presence of multiple chronic diseases and conditions, and the types and numbers of prescription and nonprescription medications they consume.
Medication-related problems have received international attention. In the US, as many as 200 000 people may die of medication-related problems each year. Studies from other developed nations where patients have access to medications have determined that various types of medication-related problems occur in the elderly population in healthcare environments ranging from nursing homes to community dwelling settings.
A variety of initiatives have been developed in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of medication-related problems in the elderly. The role that a pharmacist can play in identifying and preventing the negative health outcomes and costs of medication-related problems is being increasingly recognised. Indeed, numerous studies have now documented the positive impact that pharmacists can have in this area, and ongoing research is being conducted.
With the growing numbers of elderly, and the increase in the numbers and types of medications available, it is imperative that awareness of medication-related problems be increased and that further initiatives be developed to optimise the positive outcomes of drug therapy in the elderly.
Nursing Home Adverse Drug Event Pharmaceutical Care Inappropriate Medication Medication List
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No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.
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