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Frail elderly patients in primary care—their medication knowledge and beliefs about prescribed medicines



The aim of this study was to describe elderly patients’ knowledge about and attitudes towards their medicines in Swedish primary care.


Thirty-four patients aged 65 years and above with multiple illnesses were included. Medication knowledge was assessed with a questionnaire measuring knowledge about indication and possible adverse effects for each medicine. Attitudes were investigated with the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire.


The indication of at least 75% of their medicines was known to 71% of the patients. Patients with polypharmacy and multi-dose drug distribution respectively had significantly less knowledge. Eighty-four percent had no knowledge about possible adverse effects. For 93% of the patients, the benefits of the medication outweighed the costs (concerns). No correlation was found between attitudes and knowledge.


The knowledge about indication was higher than previously seen, but the knowledge about possible adverse effects was poor. The patients had strong beliefs in the benefits of their medication.

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The authors are grateful to the Case Managers Marie-Louise Olofsson and Jeanette Hellberg who have conducted fundamental and important work on this project and to the medical faculty at Lund University, The Vardal Institute, Lund University Hospital, the primary health care staff in Eslöv and the Municipality of Eslöv. The Swedish Research Council and the Governmental Funding of Clinical Research within the NHS (ALF) funded this study.

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Correspondence to Sara Modig.

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Modig, S., Kristensson, J., Kristensson Ekwall, A. et al. Frail elderly patients in primary care—their medication knowledge and beliefs about prescribed medicines. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 65, 151–155 (2009).

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  • Medication knowledge
  • Beliefs about medicines
  • BMQ
  • Elderly
  • Primary care
  • Polypharmacy