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Information on actual medication use and drug-related problems in older patients: questionnaire or interview?

Willeboordse, F., Gundeken, L.H., Eijckel, L.P. van der, Schellevis, F.G., Elders, P.J.M., Hugtenburg, J.G. Information on actual medication use and drug-related problems in older patients: questionnaire or interview? International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy: 2016, 38(2), 380-387
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Background
Information on medication use and drug-related problems is important in the preparation of clinical medication reviews. Critical information can only be provided by patients themselves, but interviewing patients is time-consuming. Alternatively, patient information could be obtained with a questionnaire.

Objective
In this study the agreement between patient information on medication use and drug-related problems in older patients obtained with a questionnaire was compared with information obtained during an interview.

Setting
General practice in The Netherlands.

Method
A questionnaire was developed to obtain information on actual medication use and drug-related problems. Two patient groups ≥65 years were selected based on general practitioner electronic medical records in nine practices; I. polypharmacy and II. ≥1 predefined general geriatric problems. Eligible patients were asked to complete the questionnaire and were interviewed afterwards. Main outcome measure Agreement on information on medication use and drug-related problems collected with the questionnaire and interview was calculated.

Results
Ninety-seven patients participated. Of all medications used, 87.6 % (95 % CI 84.7–90.5) was reported identically in the questionnaire and interview. Agreement for the complete medication list was found for 45.4 % (95 % CI 35.8–55.3) of the patients. On drug-related problem level, agreement between questionnaire and interview was 75 %. Agreement tended to be lower in vulnerable patients characterized by ≥4 chronic diseases, ≥10 medications used and low health literacy.

Conclusion
Information from a questionnaire showed reasonable agreement compared with interviewing. The patients reported more medications and drug-related problems in the interview than the questionnaire. Taking the limitations into account, a questionnaire seems a suitable tool for medication reviews that may replace an interview for most patients. (aut. ref.)