Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jan;52(1):93-8.

The short-term effect of interdisciplinary medication review on function and cost in ambulatory elderly people.

Author information

Division of General Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.



To determine whether a medication review by a specialized team would promote regimen changes in elders taking multiple medications and to measure the effect of regimen changes on monthly cost and functioning.


A randomized-controlled trial.


Health center ambulatory clinic.


Community-dwelling older adults taking five or more medications were assessed at baseline and 6 weeks. A medication-change intervention group of 57 elders was compared with a control group of 76 elder adults.


The primary intervention was a comprehensive review and recommended modification of a patient's medication regimen. Changes were endorsed by each patient's primary physician and discussed with each patient.


Measures were the Timed Manual Performance Test, Physical Performance Test, Functional Reach Assessment, subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, a modified Randt Memory Test, the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale, the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, and the Rand 36-item Health Survey 1.0. Comorbidity was determined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification. Medication usage was determined using brown bag review.


Intervention subjects decreased their medications by an average of 1.5 drugs. No differences in functioning were observed between groups. Intervention subjects saved an average $26.92 per month in wholesale medication costs; control subjects saved $6.75 per month (P<.006).


Although the intervention significantly reduced the medications taken and monthly cost, most patients were resistant to reducing medications to the recommended level. Further study is needed to understand patient resistance to reducing adverse polypharmacy and to devise better strategies for addressing this important problem in geriatric health. Greater focus on prescriber behavior is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center