Changes in medicine prescription following a medication review in older high-risk patients with polypharmacy

Marian Z.M. Hurmuz, Sarah I.M. Janus, Jeannette G. van Manen* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background The more (inappropriate) drugs a patient uses, the higher the risk of drug related problems. To reduce these risks, medication reviews can be performed. Objective To report changes in the prescribed number of (potentially inappropriate) drugs before and after performing a medication review in high-risk polypharmacy patients. A secondary objective was to study reasons for continuing potentially inappropriate drugs (PIDs). Setting Dutch community pharmacy and general medical practice. Methods A retrospective longitudinal intervention study with a pre-test/post-test design and follow-up of 1 week and 3 months was performed. The study population consisted of 126 patients with polypharmacy and with additional risk for drug related problems that underwent a medication review in five community pharmacies. The medication review was performed by the pharmacist in close cooperation with the general practitioner of each corresponding patient. Main outcome measure Number of (potentially inappropriate) drugs, and appropriateness of prescribed medicines. Results The average number of drugs a patient used 1 day before the review was 8.7 (SD = 2.9), which decreased (p < 0.05) to 8.3 (SD = 2.7) 1 week after the review, and to 8.4 (SD = 2.6) 3 months after the review. The average number of PIDs was initially 0.6 (SD = 0.8) per patient and decreased to 0.4 (SD = 0.6, p < 0.05). Twenty-two of the 241 initial drug changes (9%) were deprescribed during follow-up. Registered reasons for continuing PIDs are clinical or patients’ preferences. Conclusions Performing medication reviews in polypharmacy patients seems useful to continue at least in high-risk patients in The Netherlands. The time-consuming reviews could be limited to patients who are willing to change their medication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-487
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Elderly
  • Medication review
  • Polypharmacy
  • The Netherlands
  • Drug prescription


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