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ObjectivesMedicines play a key role in the lives of people with dementia, primarily to manage symptoms. Managing medicines is complex for people with dementia and their family carers and can result in multiple problems leading to harm. We conducted a systematic review to identify and model medication issues experienced and coping strategies used by people with dementia and/or family carers.MethodsEleven general databases and four systematic review databases were searched. Studies were quality assessed using an established framework and thematically analysed.ResultsTwenty-one articles were included in this study, and four domains affecting medication use were identified: cognitive, medication, social and cultural, and knowledge/educational and communication. People with dementia reported medication issues in all four domains, but few coping strategies were developed. Family carers reported issues and coping strategies related to the medication and knowledge/educational and communication domains. Common issues with regards to knowledge and communication about medicines remain unresolved. The "voices" of people with dementia appeared largely missing from the literature so were in-depth understanding of how, whether, and in which circumstances coping strategies work in managing medicines.ConclusionsMedicines management is a complex set of activities and although current coping strategies exists, these were primarily used by family carers or the person with dementia-carer dyad. Health and social care practitioners and researchers should seek to understand in-depth the "mechanisms of action" of existing coping strategies and actively involve people with dementia as co-producers of knowledge to underpin any further work on medicines management.

Original publication





International journal of geriatric psychiatry

Publication Date





1562 - 1581


Reading School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK.


Humans, Dementia, Adaptation, Psychological, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Communication, Caregivers, Medication Therapy Management