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Older people in nursing and residential homes often have complex disabilities and behavioural disturbances. Recent publicity has highlighted the dangers of medication in this group, and controls over prescribing have been suggested.
To investigate the effect of a review of medication by a pharmacist.
An 8-month prospective trial of an active medication review by a pharmacist was carried out on 330 residents in nursing homes in Manchester.
The intervention group experienced greater deterioration in cognitive function and behavioural disturbance than the control group, but the changes in depression and quality of life were similar for both groups. The number of drugs prescribed fell in the intervention group, but not in the control group, with a corresponding saving in drug costs. The number of deaths was significantly smaller in the intervention homes during the intervention period (4 v. 14) but not overall during the study period as a whole (26 v. 28).
This clinical intervention reduced the number of medicines prescribed to elderly people in nursing homes, with minimal impact on their morbidity and mortality.
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