PurposeTo investigate the frequency and type of drug related problems (DRPs) in geriatric patients (> 65 years), and to assess their contribution to hospital admission; to explore the appropriateness of drug therapy according to the Beers’ criteria.MethodsCross-sectional observational survey of 110 elderly patients admitted during three non-consecutive months to the geriatric ward of a university hospital. Explorative assessment of appropriateness of drug therapy prior to hospital admission based on the Beers’ criteriaResultsA DRP was the dominant reason for hospital admission in 14 out of the 110 patients (12.7%); for another 9 patients (8.2%), a DRP was partly contributing to hospital admission. For these 23 patients, adverse drug reactions and noncompliance were the most important types of DRPs. We found no relationship between drug related hospital admission and intake of a drug listed in the Beers criteria for inappropriate drug use in the elderly. Patients admitted for a DRP took more drugs before admission than patients admitted because of other reasons.ConclusionsDRPs are an important cause for admission on the geriatric ward of our hospital. The drugs causing DRPs in this study were not those listed in the Beers list of inappropriate drugs in the elderly.