The influence of patients’ beliefs about medicines and the relationship with suboptimal medicine use in community-dwelling older adults: a systematic review of quantitative studies

Eman Rafhi, Malath Al-Juhaishi, Ieva Stupans, Julie E Stevens, Joon Soo Park, Kate Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Medication use in older adults is increasing, therefore, reducing the risk of suboptimal medicine use is imperative in achieving optimal therapeutic outcomes. Research suggests that factors such as personal beliefs and beliefs about medicines may be associated with non-adherence and inappropriate medicine use.

Aim
To systematically review and identify quantitative research on the influence of beliefs about medicines and the relationship with suboptimal medicine use in older adults.

Method
Searches were conducted on PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO for quantitative studies (inception to March 2023). Inclusion criteria: (1) exposure: participants’ beliefs (personal, cultural, and medication-related), (2) outcomes: polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medicines use, or non-adherence, and (3) participants: community-dwelling adults 65 years or above. Study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal (Joanna Briggs Institute critical appraisal checklist) were completed independently by two investigators. Data were combined in a narrative synthesis and presented in a summary of findings table.

Results
Nineteen articles were included: 15 cross-sectional and four cohort studies. Outcomes of included papers were as follows; adherence (n = 18) and potentially inappropriate medicine use (n = 1). Ten studies found stronger beliefs in the necessity of medicines and/or fewer concerns led to better adherence, with one paper contradicting these findings. Three studies did not find associations between adherence and beliefs. One study confirmed an association between unnecessary drug use and a lack of belief in a "powerful other" (e.g. doctor).

Conclusion
Further investigation is necessary to (1) ascertain the importance of necessity or concern beliefs in fostering adherence and, (2) examine the influence of beliefs on polypharmacy and inappropriate medicine use.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 May 2024

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