Prevalence and Risk Factors for Drug-Related Problems in People With Dementia Living in the Community: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis



      The aims of this systematic review were to identify the prevalence and risk factors associated with drug-related problems (DRPs) in people living with dementia in the community.


      A systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Setting and Participants

      People with dementia living in the community.


      Six databases (Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Scopus, and CINAHL) were searched using a combination of keywords and Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms with 4 concepts: dementia, older adults, DRPs, and community-dwelling. Primary outcomes were adverse drug reactions (ADRs), adverse drug events (ADEs), and medication errors (MEs).


      There were 22 studies included: 4 cross-sectional studies and 18 cohort studies. The number of participants in these studies ranged from 81 to 21,795. The pooled prevalence for any ADEs, including ADRs, in people living with dementia was 19.0% (95% CI 11.6%-27.7%), whereas the pooled prevalence for specific types of ADEs ranged from 2.6% to 10.2%. Furthermore, the prevalence of MEs ranged from 0.9% to 41.3%. Psychotropic medications, polypharmacy, and inappropriate medications contributed to an increased risk of experiencing DRPs, whereas support with medication management was a protective factor.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The prevalence of overall DRPs experienced by people with dementia was highly variable in included studies. Awareness that certain medication, patient, and medication management factors are associated with the risk of people with dementia experiencing DRPs may guide clinicians to identify high-risk situations and implement suitable mitigation strategies.


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