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Inappropriate Med Use High in Cognitively Impaired Seniors

Prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication use higher for frail seniors with cognitive impairment

opening prescription bottle

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many nursing home residents with cognitive impairment or dementia have potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, with PIM use more likely among frail individuals, according to a study published online July 28 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Laura C. Maclagan, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using data for 41,351 individuals with cognitive impairment or dementia aged 66+ years who were newly admitted to a nursing home between 2011 and 2014. Medication information was obtained at admission to nursing home and in the subsequent 180 days, and the prevalence of PIM use was estimated.

The researchers found that 44 percent of residents with cognitive impairment or dementia were on a PIM and there was variation in prevalence by frailty (38.7, 42.8, and 48.1 percent for non-frail, pre-frail, and frail, respectively; P < 0.001). Many residents discontinued PIMs following admission; however, PIMs were also introduced, with 10.9, 10.1, 6.6, and 1.2 percent newly started on antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, anticholinergics, and H2-receptor antagonists, respectively. Frail residents had a similar risk of PIM discontinuation as non-frail residents for anticholinergics, but they were more likely to be newly prescribed benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and anticholinergics, after adjustment for other characteristics.

"Interventions to support deprescribing of PIMs should be implemented targeting frail individuals during the transition to nursing home," the authors write.

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