Medication use problems and factors affecting older adults in primary healthcare

Christopher, Christina Malini, Blebil, Ali Qais, Bhuvan, K.C., Alex, Deepa, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Izham, Ismail, Norhasimah, and Cheong Wing Loong, Mark (2023) Medication use problems and factors affecting older adults in primary healthcare. Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 19 (12). pp. 1520-1530.

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Background: As the largest demographic group utilizing primary healthcare facilities, older adults often face the challenge of managing multiple chronic illnesses, leading to numerous medications.

Objective: The present study aims to assess medication use problems among older adults and explore the factors affecting them in primary healthcare settings.

Methods: A mixed-method study was conducted to establish a baseline understanding of the perspectives and challenges faced by older adults, with regards to medication use. Translated Medication Use Questionnaire (MedUseQ), a patient-centered tool, was distributed to older adults above 60 in primary healthcare settings to assess their frequency of problems related to medication use. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore this topic in depth. Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted with quantitative data. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was conducted. Quantitative and qualitative findings data were triangulated.

Results: The study involved 393 participants. The most common problems with regards to medication use were polypharmacy (55.4%), administration difficulties (48.4%), limited awareness about adverse drug events (47.3%), issues with adherence (46.5%), and accessibility to primary healthcare (42.7%). Approximately 55% were satisfied with the older adult-centered medication use services by pharmacist and doctors. The qualitative findings showed that major factors affecting medication use were forgetfulness, language barriers, lack of awareness, transportation problems, long waiting times, and multiple visits to healthcare facilities.

Conclusion: The findings of this study reveal that a significant proportion, around 50%, of the older adult population face challenges with medication use in Penang. These difficulties mainly stem from medication administration, adherence, accessibility, polypharmacy, and inadequate medication knowledge. The qualitative analysis further highlighted several factors that contribute to such medication-related problems. Given the rapidly aging Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) population, it is essential to devise effective solutions and strategies to tackle medication use-related issues among older adults.

Item ID: 80816
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1934-8150
Keywords: Challenges, Community pharmacies, Health clinics, Issues, Services
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license (
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2024 03:29
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320210 Geriatrics and gerontology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200502 Health related to ageing @ 100%
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