University Of Tasmania

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Actual drug-related harms in residential aged care facilities: a narrative review

Introduction: Older people in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) have a high risk of safety issues and concerns about the potential quality of care received. This narrative review investigates the types of actual drug-related harms, their prevalence, reporting of any standard definitions for these harms, and their identification methods.

Areas covered: The authors conducted a systematic search on Ovid Embase, Ovid Medline, and PubMed from March 2001 to March 2021. This narrative review included all types of studies targeting aged care residents aged 65 years and above with actual drug-related harms.

Expert opinion: The prevalence of actual drug-related harms in residents ranged from 0.07% to 63.0%. Falls, drug-drug interactions, neuropsychiatric symptoms, anaphylaxis, urinary tract infection, hypoglycemia, hypokalaemia, and acute kidney injury are the most common drug-related harms in older residents. Psychotropic drugs are the most common drug class implicated in these harms. Evidence related to the association between individual psychotropic drugs and injury, or harm is also lacking. Due to the variation in study duration, reported prevalence, identification methods, and absence of a definition for actual drug-related harms in most studies, further research is mandated to understand the prevalence and clinical implications of drug-related harms in older residents.


Publication title

Expert Opinion on Drug Safety










School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Evaluation of health outcomes

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    University Of Tasmania