Norwegian elderly patients' need for drug information and attitudes towards medication use reviews in community pharmacies

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Abstract

Objectives

Medication use review (MUR) is a community pharmacy service in several countries. Knowledge about what patients want from such a service is limited. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate Norwegian elderly patients' need for drug information and their attitudes towards MURs.

Methods

In Norway's two largest cities, 162 patients (72% women; mean age: 78.9 years) who used at least one prescription drug were recruited from 18 senior centres. They were interviewed personally with a structured questionnaire (29 closed and 4 open-ended questions).

Key findings

The average number of prescription drugs used was 4.4. Seventy per cent also used over-the-counter drugs. The main source of drug information was the general practitioner (GP) followed by package inserts and pharmacy staff. For drug-related problems, 62% would contact the GP compared with 24% who preferred the pharmacist. Fifty per cent remembered no information when collecting prescriptions. However, 56% wanted to know more about their medication and 55% were interested in a MUR. The main topics they wished to address were effect/side effects and interactions. Lack of privacy was reported to be a major obstacle in the current situation.

Conclusions

This study shows that community pharmacies in Norway play a minor role regarding drug information to elderly polypharmacy patients. The GP is both their main information source and whom they contact for drug-related problems. However, half of the patients would like to know more about their medication. More than half were positive towards taking part in a MUR.

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