The trend towards polypharmacy is increasing among the elderly, and associated with this trend is an increased risk of adverse drug effects and drug-drug interactions. Our objective was to assess whether drug adverse effects reported by patients are in general agreement with those identified by a physician.
We evaluated the medication of 404 randomly selected individuals aged 75 years or older by means of interviews carried out by trained nurses and examinations conducted by a physician. The medication used by these patients was recorded prior to the physician's examination and modified thereafter if considered appropriate. Adverse effects noted by the physician were compared to those self-reported by the patients.
Almost all of the patients (98.8%) were using at least one drug, and the mean total number of drugs used was 6.5. Adverse effects were self-reported by 11.4% of the patients, whereas the physician observed apparent adverse drug effects in 24.0% of the patients. No adverse effects were reported in 53.2% of the patients. There were only seven patients that had adverse effects that were both self-reported and identified by the physician, and only four of these patients reported the same adverse effect that had been identified by the physician.
There was a great disparity between the adverse effects identified by the physician and those reported by the patients themselves. Based on our results, it would appear that elderly people tend to neglect adverse drug effects and may consider them to be an unavoidable part of normal ageing. Therefore, physicians should enquire about possible adverse effects even though elderly patients may not complain of any drug-related problems.
The aim was to study whether the anticholinergic burden of drugs is related to xerostomia and salivary secretion among community-dwelling elderly people.
Anticholinergic drugs have been shown to be a risk factor for dry mouth, but little is known about the effects of cumulative exposure to anticholinergic drugs measured by anticholinergic burden on salivary secretion or xerostomia.
The study population consisted of 152 community-dwelling, dentate, non-smoking, older people from the Oral Health GeMS study. The data were collected by interviews and clinical examinations. Anticholinergic burden was determined using the Anticholinergic Drug Scale (ADS). A Poisson regression model with robust error variance was used to estimate relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI 95%).
Participants with a high-anticholinergic burden (ADS = 3) were more likely to have xerostomia (RR: 3.17; CI: 1.44-6.96), low-unstimulated salivary flow (
The serum anticholinergic activity (SAA) assay has been used to quantify patients' anticholinergic load. In addition, several ranked lists of anticholinergic drugs have been developed to assess anticholinergic drug burden.
This study investigated whether SAA assay results and scores from three ranked lists of anticholinergic drugs (Carnahan's Anticholinergic Drug Scale, Rudolph's Anticholinergic Risk Scale, and Chew's list) are associated with anticholinergic adverse drug events (ADEs) in older people.
We analyzed data from participants in the population-based Geriatric Multidisciplinary Good Care of the Elderly Study in Kuopio, Finland (n = 621). Demographic, diagnostic, and drug use data were collected during standardized interviews and verified from medical records. Vision, functional capacity, cognition, and mood were assessed using validated techniques. The SAA was measured from blood samples.
The SAA was not associated with anticholinergic ADEs. Anticholinergic drug burden computed using each of the three lists was inversely associated with short-distance vision (p
Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality among older people. We have studied whether its prevalence can be reduced by a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA).
1000 randomly-selected persons aged =75 years were divided into intervention (n = 500) and control groups (n = 500). We focused on those subjects in whom an orthostatic blood pressure test had been performed at least once during the study period (2004-2007) (n = 365 and 332 for intervention and control groups, respectively). A CGA, including evaluation of the adequacy of the medication, was performed annually in the intervention group but not in the control group. We conducted Markov models to study change in the OH profiles and the effect of CGA on it. Competing risk of mortality was modeled as an absorbing state to avoid attrition bias.
Over 3 years, the prevalence of OH decreased (35.0% ? 28.0%) in the intervention group, whereas its prevalence increased in the control group (32.8% ? 40.8%). By Markov models it was shown that CGA had a statistically significant effect on recovering from OH. In addition, CGA was shown to protect from developing OH.
Repeated CGA performed annually can reduce the prevalence of OH.
Older people often use multiple drugs, and some of them have anticholinergic activity. Anticholinergic drugs may cause adverse reactions, and therefore their use should be limited. To identify anticholinergic load, several ranked lists with different drugs and scoring systems have been developed and used widely in research. We investigated, if a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) decreased the anticholinergic drug score in a 4-year period. We used four different anticholinergic ranked lists to determine the anticholinergic score and to describe how the results differ depending on the list used.
We analyzed data from population-based intervention study, in which a random sample of 1000 persons aged =75 years were randomized to either an intervention group or a control group. Those in the intervention group underwent CGA including medication assessment annually between 2004 and 2007. Current medication use was assessed annually. The anticholinergic load was calculated by using four ranked lists of anticholinergic drugs (Boustani's, Carnahan's, Chew's and Rudolph's) for each person and for each year.
CGA had no statistically significant effect on anticholinergic exposure during the 4-year follow-up, but improvements towards more appropriate medication use were observed especially in the intervention group. However, age, gender and functional comorbidity index were associated to higher anticholinergic exposure, depending on the list used.
Repeated CGAs may result as more appropriate anticholinergic medication use. The selection of the list may affect the results and therefore the selection of the list is important.
High drug consumption among the elderly and inappropriate prescribing practices increase the risk of adverse drug effects in this population. This risk may be decreased by conducting, for example, a medication review alone or as part of a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA); however, little is known about the fate of the changes in medication made as a result of the CGA or medication review. To study the performance of the CGA with regards to medication changes and to determine the persistence of these changes over a 1-year period. This study was a population-based intervention study. A random sample of 1000 elderly (age > or =75 years) was randomized either to a CGA group or to a control group. Home-dwelling patients from these groups (n = 331 and n = 313 for intervention and control groups, respectively) were analysed in this study. Study nurses collected information on medication at study entry and 1 year later in both groups; in the intervention group, study physicians assessed, and changed when appropriate, the medication at study entry. The medication changes and their persistence over 1 year were then evaluated. Medication changes were more frequent in the intervention group than in the control group. Regular medication was changed during follow-up in 277 (83.7%) and in 228 (72.8%) [odds ratio (OR) 1.9; 95% CI 1.3, 2.8] patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively. In the intervention group, study physicians were responsible for 35.4% of all new prescriptions and for 15.6% of all drug terminations. Changes took place particularly in the prescription of CNS drugs. About 58% of the drugs initiated by study physicians were still in use 1 year later, and 25.5% of those terminated by study physicians had been reintroduced. Drug intervention as part of a CGA can be used to rationalize the drug therapy of a patient. However, its effectiveness is subsequently partly counteracted by other physicians working in the healthcare system.
Persons with Alzheimer's disease are at an increased risk of pneumonia, but the comparative risks during specific antidementia treatments are not known. We compared the risk of pneumonia in the use of donepezil, rivastigmine (oral, transdermal), galantamine and memantine.
We used data from a nationwide cohort of community-dwelling individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease during 2005-2011 in Finland, who initiated monotherapy with acetylcholinesterase inhibitor or memantine (n?=?65,481). The risk of hospitalization or death due to pneumonia was investigated with Cox proportional hazard models.
The risk of pneumonia was higher in persons using rivastigmine patch (n?=?9709) (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.27) and memantine (n?=?11,024) (HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.48-1.71) compared with donepezil users (n?=?26,416) whereas oral rivastigmine (n?=?7384) (HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.98-1.19) and galantamine (n?=?10,948) (HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.83-1.00) were not associated with an increased risk. These results did not change when adjusting for comorbid conditions, use of psychotropic drugs or with inverse probability of treatment weighting.
The increased risk of pneumonia in this fragile group of aged persons should be taken into account. Memantine is associated with the highest risk in the comparison of antidementia drugs. KEY Message Pneumonia risk is increased in persons with Alzheimer's disease who use memantine or rivastigmine patches.