One third of elderly people have forgotten to take medication – only a few use aid in dispensing

Forgetting medication is the most common challenge related to the pharmaceutical care of elderly people in Finland, revealed a survey commissioned by Oriola. Nevertheless, one third of seniors using several medicines do not utilise any aid in dispensing their medication.

Oriola’s survey mapped experiences related to medical treatment among Finnish seniors. Over 900 people aged 70 to 89 answered the survey, and 91 per cent of the respondents had used a prescription medicine during the last year.

The majority – 40 per cent of the respondents – had used 2–3 different prescription medicines over the last year. Men used prescription medicines more than women. 42 per cent of men but only a third of women had used more than four prescription medicines during the last year.

Nearly a third of seniors have forgotten to take their medication

The survey also revealed challenges related to medical treatment. One third of the respondents (34%) reported that they had sometimes made a mistake in taking a prescription medicine.

The most common mistake was forgetting to take medication, which was reported by even a third (30%) of the respondents. Only three per cent said they had taken a wrong dose of medicine, and one per cent said they had taken a wrong medicine.

Similar challenges in Sweden

According to a survey conducted by Oriola in Sweden, 43 per cent of seniors had sometimes made a mistake in taking medicine and 41 per cent had forgotten to take their medicine.

The surveys also revealed that problems with medical treatment increase as the seniors get older. In Sweden, more than half (51%) of the respondents aged 86 or older had sometimes made a mistake in taking their medication. In Finland, similar answer was given by 40 per cent of the respondents aged 80 or older.

Efficient dispensing helps to remember medication

The reason for forgetting medication may lie in insufficient use of aid in medicine dispensing. According to Oriola’s survey, more than half (51%) of the respondents using prescription medicines do not use a pill dispenser or ready packed doses of medicines. Still over a third (38%) of the seniors who have four or more different prescription medicines in use, do not use any aid in dispensing.

”Efficient dispensing of prescription medicines improves pharmaceutical safety, as it helps to remember to take the right medicines at the right time. Automated dose-dispensing service, that is available from pharmacies, is even more reliable than manual dispensing. Medicines are dispensed manually to a pill dispenser, and the possibility to errors is higher,” says Eero Lamminen, Director of Services Categories Business Unit at Oriola.

In automated dose dispensing, patients get all of their frequently used medicine pills and capsules in ready-to-use dose pouches. Each pouch contains clear information, among other things, on the date and time for taking the medicine. In manual dispensing, the error level varies from 1 to 20 per cent depending on the studies. In Oriola’s automated dose-dispensing service, the error percentage of the dose pouches delivered to pharmacies is only 0.003 per cent in a year.

Further information:

Tuula Lehto, VP, Communications and Sustainability, tel. +358 40 5885 343, email.

The survey mapped the experiences related to medical treatment and wellbeing among the Finnish seniors. 900 people aged 70 to 89 years responded to the survey. 93 per cent of the respondents were 70-79-year-old and 7 per cent over 80 years of age. 821 respondents had used prescription medicines during the last year. The survey was conducted in Bilendi M3 web panel in December 2019.

The survey conducted in Sweden had 1,211 respondents aged between 75 and 95 years. 1,026 of the respondents used some prescription medicine daily. The survey was conducted in Kantar Sifo’s web panel in early 2019.

Oriola is a health and wellbeing company operating in the Nordic countries. We help people to lead healthier lives by giving them access to sustainable health and wellbeing products and services. In Sweden, Oriola owns the country’s third-largest pharmacy chain, Kronans Apotek. In addition to pharmacies, our dose-dispensing, medical information and patient support services enhance the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceutical care. Our expert services support pharmaceutical companies throughout the entire lifecycle of medicines. Oriola’s supply chain ensures reliable and safe delivery of pharmaceuticals to pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, veterinarians and other healthcare operators. In 2019, Oriola Corporation’s net sales were 1.7 billion euros and we employed nearly 4,300 professionals. Oriola Corporation is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.