Drug-related problems, including medication errors and adverse drug events, are common among old people. Due to, for example, greater susceptibility to side effects, people with dementia are even more at risk of drug-related problems. The objectives of this study were to assess the occurrence and character of drug-related problems found among old people with dementia or cognitive impairment.
Data from a randomized controlled clinical trial exploring the effects of a pharmacist intervention as part of a hospital ward team in patients 65 years and older with dementia or cognitive impairment were used. The study was conducted between 2012 and 2014 in the orthopedic and medicine wards in two hospitals located in Northern Sweden. Drug-related problems identified in this patient group were classified and described, and associations with different factors were investigated.
Clinical pharmacists identified at least one DRP in 66% (140/212) of participants in the intervention group, for a total of 310 DRPs. Ineffective drug/inappropriate drug and unnecessary drug therapy were the most common drug-related problems. Discontinuation of drug therapy was the most common action carried out. Drug-related problems were more common among people prescribed a larger number of drugs and among people with an earlier stroke.
Drug-related problems are common among people with dementia and cognitive impairment. Comprehensive medication reviews conducted by clinical pharmacists as part of a health care team might be important to prevent, identify and solve these problems.
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