Seniors are deprived of a crucial drug review service

For more than 15 years, Medicare Part D plans have paid for eligible seniors to meet with a pharmacist or other health care provider and review all medications and supplements they take, so they can research safety risks and ways to save money or streamline their doses.

But a new study shows that most people over 65 with health insurance did not take advantage of this service – and most don’t even know they can.

There were exceptions, with people who took the most medication and those who may have difficulty paying for medication being more likely to have a medication review. Specifically, seniors taking five or more prescription medications were significantly more likely than those taking between two and four medications to have had a comprehensive medication review, the study found. The same goes for those who say they struggled to afford the cost of food.

On the other hand, seniors who take two or more prescription medications and say their health is fair or poor were half as likely to have had a medication review as other seniors. who take a similar number of drugs.

The new article, published in Gerontology journals: series A by a team from the University of Michigan, is based on data the National Healthy Aging Survey. The survey is based on Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovationand supported by Michigan Medicine, UM’s Academic Medical Center, and AARP.

Main author Antoinette Coe, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from the UM College of Pharmacy, worked with the survey team on the new analysis, which builds on a previous survey report.

“Our study found that among seniors with health insurance, 77% are taking at least two prescription medications. Of these, only 1 in 5 had received a comprehensive medication review, while more than a third were interested in a medication review in the future,” she said. “We also found that most seniors – about 83% were unaware that their prescription insurance could cover a medication review. results show a continued need to increase awareness and education of older adults about the benefits of medication review.”

Coe notes that it’s not just prescription drugs that pharmacists can help people navigate — in fact, supplements and over-the-counter drugs can often have risky interactions with prescriptions. Just like alcohol and even certain foods.

The new study shows that among seniors who take two or more prescription medications, 51% also take between two and four non-prescription medications, including supplements, and 15% take five or more.

The study is based on data from 960 people aged 65 to 80 with health insurance, 62% of whom had Medicare Part D coverage. Learn more about the National Healthy Aging Survey.

In addition to Coe, the authors are Karen Farris, Ph.D., Erica Solway, Ph.D., MSW, MPH, Dianne C Singer, MPH, Matthias Kirch, MS, Jeffrey T Kullgren, MD, MS, MPH, Preeti N Malani, MD, MSJ and Julie PW Bynum, MD, MPH

Article quoted: Predictors of receiving comprehensive medication reviews in older adults,” Gerontology journals: series A. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glac096

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