Unnecessary complexity of home medication regimens among seniors

Lee A. Lindquist*, Lucy M. Lindquist, Lisa Zickuhr, Elisha Friesema, Michael S. Wolf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether seniors consolidate their home medications or if there is evidence of unnecessary regimen complexity. Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 200 community-dwelling seniors >70 years in their homes. Subjects demonstrated how they took their medications in a typical day and the number of times a day patients would take medications was calculated. A pharmacist and physician blinded to patient characteristics examined medication regimens and determined the fewest number of times a day they could be taken by subjects. Results: Home medication regimens could be simplified for 85 (42.5%) subjects. Of those subjects not optimally consolidating their medications, 53 (26.5%) could have had the number of times a day medications were taken reduced by one time per day; 32 (16.0%) reduced by two times or more. The three most common causes of overcomplexity were (1) misunderstanding medication instructions, (2) concern over drug absorption (i.e. before meals), and (3) perceived drug-drug interactions. Conclusion: Almost half of seniors had medication regimens that were unnecessarily complicated and could be simplified. This lack of consolidation potentially impedes medication adherence. Practice implications: Health care providers should ask patients to explicitly detail when medication consumption occurs in the home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalPatient education and counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Geriatrics
  • Medication adherence
  • Older adults
  • Provider-patient communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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