gms | German Medical Science

20th Annual Meeting of the German Drug Utilisation Research Group (GAA)

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

05.12. - 06.12.2013, Düsseldorf

Medication Safety of Elderly Hospitalized Patients

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Rebekka Lenssen - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • author Axel Heidenreich - Department of Urology, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • author Jörg Bernhard Schulz - Department of Neurology, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • author Christian Trautwein - Department of Internal Medicine III, Gastroenterology, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany
  • author Ulrich Jaehde - Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • author Albrecht Eisert - Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Aachen, Aachen, Germany

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 20. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Düsseldorf, 05.-06.12.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. Doc13gaa22

doi: 10.3205/13gaa22, urn:nbn:de:0183-13gaa227

Published: November 25, 2013

© 2013 Lenssen et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Medication safety is an essential part of patient safety. Pharmaceutical care is one way to improve medication safety by solving drug-related problems (DRP).

For elderly patients, potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) are defined in the so-called PRISCUS list [1]. Such drugs might be a risk factor for adverse drug reactions [1]. A pilot study was conducted to reveal the necessity of pharmaceutical care services on different wards at RWTH Aachen University Hospital [2]. In addition, the occurrence of PIM in medication profiles was measured.

Materials and Methods: A pharmaceutical care service was provided on the cooperating wards for patients of all age, for an approximately three-months-period, respectively. Drug-related problems at each step of the medication process were identified and solved by a clinical pharmacist. They were classified using the APS-Doc system [3].

In analysing these DRP, patients were divided in two groups of age (<65 years and ≥65 years old). The number of PIM was taken from the medication profiles of the elderly. The three-months-prevalence was calculated and additional statistical analyses were performed.

The project was approved by the local ethics committee.

Results: On average, 2.3 DRP per patient were documented. Elderly patients (≥65 years) had significantly more drug-related problems than younger ones (2.5 vs. 1.9 DRP, p<0.05) [2].

The three-months-prevalence indicated that one of two elderly patients received at least one PIM. Psycholeptics (e.g. benzodiazepines, zopiclone, zolpidem) were found frequently in the medication profiles.

These results underline the need for pharmaceutical care, in particular for elderly patients.

Thus, we are currently conducting a randomised controlled study to evaluate the benefit of pharmaceutical care for elderly patients.

Conclusion: Elderly patients are more vulnerable for drug-related problems and should receive pharmaceutical care services, in particular. Due to the high prevalence of potentially inappropriate medications health-care professionals should be aware of the possible problems induced by these drugs.

We gratefully thank the Apothekerstiftung Nordrhein, Duesseldorf and the Foerderinitiative Pharmazeutische Betreuung e.V., Berlin for funding the project.

Authors are entirely independent.


Holt S, Schmiedl S, Thürmann PA. Potentially inappropriate medications in the elderly: the PRISCUS list. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(31-32):543-51. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0543 External link
Lenssen R, et al. Medication safety at a German University Hospital—results of a pilot project. Int J Clin Pharm. 2013;35:494-5.
Hohmann C, Eickhoff C, Klotz JM, Schulz M, Radziwill R. Development of a classification system for drug-related problems in the hospital setting (APS-Doc) and assessment of the inter-rater reliability. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2012 Jun;37(3):276-81. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2011.01281.x External link