Taking medicines for chronic illnesses both to treat symptoms and to prevent diseases getting worse is common in older people. However, taking too many medicines can cause harm. This review examines studies in which healthcare professionals have taken action to make sure that older people are receiving the most effective and safe medication for their illness. The actions taken included pharmaceutical care, a service provided by pharmacists, which involves identifying, preventing and resolving medication-related problems, as well as promoting the correct use of medications and encouraging health promotion and education. Another strategy was computerised decision support, a programme on the doctor’s computer that helps him/her to decide on the right treatment.
This review provides limited evidence that interventions, such as pharmaceutical care, may be successful in ensuring that older people are receiving the right medicines and reducing medication-related problems in this group, but it is not clear if this always results in clinical improvements.