Interventions to improve medicines optimisation in frail older patients in secondary and acute care settings: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials and non-randomised studies

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Abstract

Background: Frailty is a geriatric syndrome in which physiological systems have decreased reserve and resistance against stressors. Frailty is associated with polypharmacy, inappropriate prescribing and unfavourable clinical outcomes. Aim: To identify and evaluate randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomised studies of interventions designed to optimise the medications of frail older patients, aged 65  years and over, in secondary or acute care settings. Method: Literature searches were conducted across seven electronic databases and three trial registries from the date of inception to October  2021. All types of interventional studies were included. Study selection, data extraction, risk of bias and quality assessment were conducted by two independent reviewers. Results: Three RCTs were eligible for inclusion; two employed deprescribing as the intervention, and one used comprehensive geriatric assessment. All reported significant improvements in prescribing appropriateness. One study investigated the effect of the intervention on clinical outcomes including hospital presentations, falls, fracture, quality of life and mortality, and reported no significant differences in these outcomes, but did report a significant reduction in monthly medication cost. Two of the included studies were assessed as having ‘some concerns’ of bias, and one was judged to be at ‘high risk’ of bias. Conclusion: This systematic review demonstrates that medicines optimisation interventions may improve medication appropriateness in frail older inpatients. However, it highlights the paucity of high-quality evidence that examines the impact of medicines optimisation on quality of prescribing and clinical outcomes for frail older inpatients. High-quality studies are needed to address this gap.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Early online date20 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Nov 2021

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