Acceptability of oral solid medicines in older adults with and without dysphagia: A nested pilot validation questionnaire based observational study

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Abstract

Older patients (aged 65 years and over) are the major consumers of medicines and many barriers affect their ability in taking medicines orally, especially swallowing difficulties. Moreover, the characteristics of differing medicine formulations might have an impact on their acceptability in older patients. The aims of this study were to validate a Medicines Acceptability Questionnaire (MAQ) and to assess acceptability of oral solid medicines in older ambulatory patients with and without dysphagia. One hundred and fifty six older patients attending community pharmacies were recruited and attended face to face interviews. Two questionnaires were administered during the interviews, the validated Sydney Swallow Questionnaire (SSQ) assessing oral and pharyngeal swallowing function and the newly developed MAQ evaluating patient acceptability of oral solid medicines. Seventeen (11%) participants displayed symptoms compatible with swallowing difficulties identified by the SSQ. Participants with swallowing difficulties were considered themselves more likely to have problems in swallowing tablets and capsules of large sizes (11 mm and 13 mm tablets and size #00 capsules) compared to participants without dysphagia. Dispersible/effervescent tablets and orally disintegrating tablets were considered to be the most acceptable in this cohort, followed by mini-tablets. Chewable tablets and granules were the least favoured. Consistently higher acceptability scores were seen in the dysphagic population than in the non-dysphagic population for all of the dosage forms that were easier to swallow than tablets and capsules. The development of these formulations will assist in medication taking in older patients with dysphagia and potentially their adherence to drug treatments.

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