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Medication review has the potential to yield benefits but it is still unproved whether it is an effective use of scarce health resources even when optimally delivered.
Over the past century there has been a rapid growth in the size and proportion of the population aged over 65. Compared with younger people this group experiences worse health and consumes a disproportionate quantity of drugs, the volume and cost of which is increasing considerably.1 These drugs are, of course, prescribed to reduce morbidity and mortality. However, drugs can also cause harm.2 Older people especially are at risk of such harm, because of the number of drugs consumed, and age related changes in their physiology.3
Medication review has been advocated as a technique to ensure patients gain maximum benefit from their drugs, while simultaneously reducing the potential for harm. Achieving these aims is at the heart of successful “medication review” that has been defined as a: “structured, critical examination of a patient’s medicines with the objective of reaching an agreement with the patient about treatment, optimising the impact of …
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