Author(s): Hutchison LC, Jones SK, West DS, Wei JY
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The ability of patients to adhere to a medication regimen is imperative for achieving optimal outcomes. Elderly patients, especially those with memory loss, should be evaluated for their ability to manage medications to prevent significant drug-related problems. Assessment tools to determine the ability to manage medication therapy have not been tested in elderly patients with cognitive impairment. OBJECTIVES: This study compared the Medication Management Ability Assessment (M1V1AA) and the Drug Regimen Unassisted Grading Scale (DRUGS) as standardized tools to assess medication management skills in elderly patients with a range of cognitive function and evaluated the association between the results obtained from these scales and self-reported drug-related problems. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of older individuals living in the community. At a scheduled study visit, the research assistant (RA) questioned participants with a structured interview to document demographic information, medical history, prescription use, over-the-counter drug and dietary supplement use, health care resource use, medication management practices, and adverse drug events. Cognitive status was assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and functional status with the instrumental activities of daily living rating scale. The MMAA, which uses a fictitious medication regimen with labeled prescription bottles, and the DRUGS, which uses the patient's own prescription bottles, were administered. Three months after the visit, the RA telephoned participants to determine recent changes in living situation and drug-related problems. RESULTS: The study group comprised 52 people with a mean (SD) MMSE score of 28.3 (2.5). The participants had a mean (SD) age of 75.8 (6.2) years; 69\% (36/52) were women, and 96\% (50/52) were white. Participants reported an average of 4.1 medical conditions, and 88\% (46/52) reported good to excellent health. Skipping doses or cutting them in half was reported by 25\% (13/52) of participants who adjusted doses themselves. Almost half (44\%) reported medication problems and/or medication ineffectiveness during the past 3 months at both the study visit and the 3-month follow-up (23/52 for both). The 49 participants who took the MMAA had a mean (SD) score of 19.4 (6.1), with a range of 0 to 25. Of the 49 participants with scores, 34 took less than the correct number of tablets and 13 took more. The 46 participants who took the DRUGS had a mean (SD) score of 91.6 (24.7), with a range of 0 to 100. Forty of 46 participants attempting the test attained the maximum score. Higher scores for both tests indicate better accuracy. Analysis revealed that the MMAA and the DRUGS correlated with one another (P = 0.000). We found no significant associations between these medication management assessment tools and selfreported adherence or drug-related events. CONCLUSIONS: The MMAA and DRUGS tools correlated positively with cognitive function in this population of community-living elderly persons but need further evaluation of their ability to predict who is at greatest risk for drug related problems due to nonadherence to medication regimens.
This article was published in Am J Geriatr Pharmacother
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism