Elderly drug choice survey

R. P. Ferguson, E. Ziedins, Z. West, J. P. Richardson, R. Michocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study investigated the preferences of elderly individuals when confronted with drugs of similar effectiveness but different costs, side effect risks, and dosing regimens. It also investigated prior compliance history and personal drug costs. A questionnaire was administered by medical students to elderly individuals living in retirement communities in Baltimore, Maryland. Sixty-five individuals, average age 79.7, consumed an average of 5.7 different drugs at the time of the interview, with average out-of-pocket costs of $56 per month. Forty percent had some form of drug insurance. Fifty-seven percent had a history of noncompliance and, in 92% of these cases, concern over side effects was cited as a cause. When faced with a choice between a more expensive but safer drug, 88% chose the expensive alternative regardless of the specified potential side effect. In a similar scenario, 68% preferred a more convenient drug over a less convenient, less expensive choice. Our study suggests that side effect risks are more important to elderly patients than dosing regimens or moderate differences in cost. Safety concerns likely explain many apparent instances of intentional noncompliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geriatric Drug Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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