DRUG-RELATED PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY COMMUNITY-DWELLING OLDER PERSONS IN THE KLANG VALLEY, MALAYSIA: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

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Ahlam Sundus
Maw Pin Tan
Renukha Sellappans

Abstract

Introduction: The population of Malaysia is ageing rapidly. Due to the relatively greater incidence of noncommunicable diseases among older adults, polypharmacy is highly prevalent in this population. This polypharmacy along with other age-related factors increases the risk of drug-related problems to several folds. Currently, no study in Malaysia or even Asia has determined the type and nature of drug-related problems among non-institutionalised older adults. Therefore, this study aims to highlight common drug-related problems among community-dwelling older persons (≥ 65 years) with polypharmacy.


Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional exploratory study was carried out where in-depth home medication reviews were carried out by two pharmacists. Participants were recruited from geriatric and fall clinics of the University of Malaya Medical Centre located in the urban area of the Federal Territory of Malaysia. The total numbers of drug-related problems were classified using the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE) classification V9.0. Recommendations and referral letters were provided based on the pharmaceutical care issues identified.


Results: Thirty participants were recruited, among whom 178 drug-related problems were identified with a median value of six [range 1-11] drug-related problems per participant. The majority of problems were related to the effectiveness of prescribed treatment (69.1 %), followed by the possibility of adverse effects (28.7 %).


Conclusion: Home medication review identifies numerous medication-related issues and allows for patient education and detailed counselling in an informal and patient-friendly manner. Future studies to determine the longitudinal effect of home medication review on patient outcome, cost implications, and overall healthcare utilization are now indicated.

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