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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article
Study

Medication safety in older adults: home-based practice patterns.

Metlay JP, Cohen A, Polsky D, et al. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2005;53:976-82.

This study describes the medication-taking practices of older adults taking high-risk medications, including warfarin, digoxin, and phenytoin. Using participants of a state-sponsored prescription drug coverage program for elderly patients, investigators conducted telephone surveys to identify potential areas for intervention in reducing adverse events. Based on responses from nearly 5000 participants, one-third reported receiving a lack of instructions about their medications, almost half received such instructions from a pharmacist, and half reported using a pill box to coordinate their medication use. The authors suggest that improved educational efforts and increased use of dispensing organizers may provide an opportunity for reducing adverse events.