Currently, far too many older adults consume inappropriate prescriptions, which increase the risk of adverse drug reactions and unnecessary hospitalizations. A health education program directly informing patients of prescription risks may promote inappropriate prescription discontinuation in chronic benzodiazepine users.
This is a cluster randomized controlled trial using a two-arm parallel-design. A total of 250 older chronic benzodiazepine users recruited from community pharmacies in the greater Montreal area will be studied with informed consent. A participating pharmacy with recruited participants represents a cluster, the unit of randomization. For every four pharmacies recruited, a simple 2:2 randomization is used to allocate clusters into intervention and control arms. Participants will be followed for 1 year. Within the intervention clusters, participants will receive a novel educational intervention detailing risks and safe alternatives to their current potentially inappropriate medication, while the control group will be wait-listed for the intervention for 6 months and receive usual care during that time period. The primary outcome is the rate of change in benzodiazepine use at 6 months. Secondary outcomes are changes in risk perception, self-efficacy for discontinuing benzodiazepines, and activation of patients initiating discussions with their physician or pharmacist about safer prescribing practices. An intention-to-treat analysis will be followed.The rate of change of benzodiazepine use will be compared between intervention and control groups at the individual level at the 6-month follow-up. Risk differences between the control and experimental groups will be calculated, and the robust variance estimator will be used to estimate the associated 95% confidence interval (CI). As a sensitivity analysis (and/or if any confounders are unbalanced between the groups), we will estimate the risk difference for the intervention via a marginal model estimated via generalized estimating equations with an exchangeable correlation structure.
Targeting consumers directly as catalysts for engaging physicians and pharmacists in collaborative discontinuation of benzodiazepine drugs is a novel approach to reduce inappropriate prescriptions. By directly empowering chronic users with knowledge about risks, we hope to imitate the success of individually targeted anti-smoking campaigns.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01148186.
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: The use of antipsychotic medications is associated with an increased risk of death in older adults with dementia. The risk of death in patients with preexisting parkinsonism who receive antipsychotic drugs is not known.
: Using a nested case-control design, we examined the risk of death within 30 days of newly starting antipsychotic medications among people with Parkinsonism aged 70 years and older in Ontario, Canada. Data were obtained from Ontario's healthcare administrative databases.
: Among 5,391 individuals with parkinsonism who died during the study period (2002-2008) and a matched comparison group of 25,937 who were still alive, individuals exposed to atypical antipsychotic drugs had a higher risk of death (unadjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% CI: 2.1-3.8, adjusted OR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.4-2.7). Results were similar for quetiapine use compared with no antipsychotic use (unadjusted OR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.6-4.0, adjusted OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.0). Typical antipsychotics were associated with an increased odds of death compared with atypical antipsychotics (unadjusted OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.1-5.2, adjusted OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.1-5.7).
: Individuals with parkinsonism who are newly prescribed antipsychotic medications have a higher risk of death within 30 days than those who do not start these medications. Although it is not possible to establish causality, the results suggest an increased risk. It is important to be vigilant for accompanying serious medical conditions that may increase mortality in individuals requiring treatment with antipsychotics and to consider alternative approaches to treating psychosis, agitation, and aggression in this population.
The common comorbidities associated with COPD include, among others, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, for which the typical treatment involves the use of benzodiazepines (BZD). However, these medicines should be used with extra caution among COPD patients, since treatment with traditional BZD may compromise respiratory function.
This study investigated the use of BZD among persons suffering from COPD by analyzing three relevant indicators: 1) the sum of defined daily doses (DDD); 2) the number of prescribers involved; and 3) the number of different types of BZD used.
The study builds on a linkage of national prescription data and patient-administrative data, which includes all Norwegian drug prescriptions to persons hospitalized with a COPD diagnosis during 2009, amounting to a total of 5,380 observations. Regression techniques were used to identify the patients and the clinical characteristics associated with BZD use.
Of the 5,380 COPD patients treated in hospital during 2009, 3,707 (69%) were dispensed BZD during the following 12 months. Moreover, they were dispensed on average 197.08 DDD, had 1.22 prescribers, and used 0.98 types of BZD during the year. Women are more likely to use BZD for all levels of BZD use. Overnight planned care not only increases the risk of BZD use (DDD), but also the number of prescribers and the types of BZD in use.
In light of the high levels of BZD prescription found in this study, especially among women, it is recommended that general practitioners, hospital specialists, and others treating COPD patients should aim to acquire a complete picture of their patients' BZD medication before more is prescribed in order to keep the use to a minimum.
Since the previous publication of Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) guidelines in 1997, there has been a substantial increase in evidence-based treatment options for bipolar disorder. The present guidelines review the new evidence and use criteria to rate strength of evidence and incorporate effectiveness, safety, and tolerability data to determine global clinical recommendations for treatment of various phases of bipolar disorder. The guidelines suggest that although pharmacotherapy forms the cornerstone of management, utilization of adjunctive psychosocial treatments and incorporation of chronic disease management model involving a healthcare team are required in providing optimal management for patients with bipolar disorder. Lithium, valproate and several atypical antipsychotics are first-line treatments for acute mania. Bipolar depression and mixed states are frequently associated with suicidal acts; therefore assessment for suicide should always be an integral part of managing any bipolar patient. Lithium, lamotrigine or various combinations of antidepressant and mood-stabilizing agents are first-line treatments for bipolar depression. First-line options in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder are lithium, lamotrigine, valproate and olanzapine. Historical and symptom profiles help with treatment selection. With the growing recognition of bipolar II disorders, it is anticipated that a larger body of evidence will become available to guide treatment of this common and disabling condition. These guidelines also discuss issues related to bipolar disorder in women and those with comorbidity and include a section on safety and monitoring.
The aim of the Medicine use and Alzheimer's disease (MEDALZ) study is to investigate the changes in medication and healthcare service use among persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medications in this group. This is important, because the number of persons with AD is rapidly growing and even though they are a particularly vulnerable patient group, the number of representative, large-scale studies with adequate follow-up time is limited.
MEDALZ contains all residents of Finland who received a clinically verified diagnosis of AD between 2005 and 2011 and were community-dwelling at the time of diagnosis (N=70 719). The diagnosis is based on the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association (NINCS-ADRDA) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for Alzheimer's disease. The cohort contains socioeconomic data (education, occupational status and taxable income, 1972-2012) and causes of death (2005-2012), data from the prescription register (1995-2012), the special reimbursement register (1972-2012) and the hospital discharge register (1972-2012). Future updates are planned.The average age was 80.1 years (range 34.5-104.6 years). The majority of cohort (65.2%) was women. Currently, the average length of follow-up after AD diagnosis is 3.1 years and altogether 26 045 (36.8%) persons have died during the follow-up.
Altogether 53% of the cohort had used psychotropic drugs within 1 year after AD diagnoses. The initiation rate of for example, benzodiazepines and related drugs and antidepressants began to increase already before AD diagnosis.
We are currently assessing if these, and other commonly used medications are related to adverse events such as death, hip fractures, head injuries and pneumonia.
Cites: Lancet. 2015 Nov 28;386(10009):2145-9126321261
To compare the incidence rates of diabetes mellitus and dyslipidemia in ambulatory first-time users of risperidone and olanzapine.
The database for the Prescription Drug Insurance Plan in the province of Quebec was used as the data source for a population-based cohort study. Denominalized data were extracted for all ambulatory patients who first received an atypical antipsychotic between 1 January 1997 and 31 August 1999. Eligible patients were categorized as taking: no antidiabetic medication; no lipid reducing medication; neither type of medication. Those who started to use an outcome drug (an antidiabetic or lipid-lowering medication) before the end of the follow-up period (31 August 2000) were considered to have developed the corresponding outcome disease. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) (and 95% confidence intervals) for initiating antihyperglycemic or lipid-lowering drug treatment, or both were calculated. Outcomes on risperidone were compared to those on olanzapine.
A total of 19 582 eligible patients were included in the analysis. Relative to risperidone, olanzapine was associated with a higher risk of initiating a pharmacologic treatment for diabetes [IRR: 1.33 (1.03-1.74)], dyslipidemia [IRR: 1.49 (1.22-1.83)], or either condition [1.47 (1.23-1.76)].
Olanzapine seems to be associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes and/or dyslipidemia than risperidone. Further prospective studies are needed to rigorously assess the safety of olanzapine.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics have each been associated with an increased risk of fracture in older individuals. The aim of this study was to better define the magnitude of fracture risk with psychotropic medications and to determine whether a dose-effect relationship exists.
Population-based administrative databases were used to examine psychotropic medication exposure and fractures in persons aged 50 years and older in Manitoba between 1996 and 2004. Persons with osteoporotic fractures (vertebral, wrist, or hip [n = 15,792]) were compared with controls (3 controls for each case matched for age, sex, ethnicity, and comorbidity [n = 47,289]). Medications examined included antidepressants (SSRIs vs other monoamines), antipsychotics, lithium, and benzodiazepines.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were associated with the highest adjusted odds of osteoporotic fractures (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-1.59). Other monoamine antidepressants (OR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.07-1.24) and benzodiazepines (OR = 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.16) were also associated with greater fracture risk, although the relationship was weaker. Lithium was associated with lower fracture risk (OR = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.43-0.93), whereas the relationship with antipsychotics was not significant in the models that adjusted for diagnoses. A dose-effect relationship was seen with SSRIs and benzodiazepines.
This study provides novel insight into the relationship between fractures and psychotropic medications in the elderly. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors seem to have a greater risk than other psychotropic classes, and higher doses may further increase that risk. Lithium seems to be protective against fractures.
Comment In: Evid Based Ment Health. 2009 Feb;12(1):2519176784
Constipation is a common and potentially fatal side effect of clozapine treatment. Another important side effect of clozapine may also be significant weight gain. Orlistat is a weight-control medication that is known to induce loose stools as a common side effect. This study aimed to explore whether orlistat used to control clozapine-induced weight gain can simultaneously tackle clozapine-related constipation. In this 16-week randomized-controlled study, clozapine-treated patients received add-on orlistat (n=30) or add-on placebo (n=24). Colonic function was measured using the Bristol Stool Form Scale. There was a significant (P=0.039) difference in the prevalence of constipation in favor of orlistat over placebo in completers (n=40) at the endpoint. A decrease in the prevalence of constipation within the orlistat group (P=0.035) was observed (vs. no statistically significant changes in the placebo group). In clozapine-treated patients, orlistat may be beneficial not only for weight control but also as a laxative. As no established treatments for clozapine-induced constipation exist, orlistat can be considered for this population, although more studies are required.
Benzodiazepine (BZD) drug use among seniors is an important public health issue because the benefit from their use is moderate and of short duration and numerous adverse events have been linked to their use. Furthermore, there is a significant discrepancy between the prevalence of mental health disorders and BZD drug use in the elderly population, which can be attributed to a measurement issue. The goal of this cross-sectional descriptive study was to determine the prevalence of mental health disorders among seniors using BZD and living in the community, basing this information on both a thorough face-to-face interview and a pair of self-reported validated instruments. Among the 216 seniors recruited in our study, nearly 20 % were users of BZD and over three quarters of them had been using this drug for more than a year. Thirteen subjects were recognized as depressed according to a self-report measure compared to 18 according to the interview. Likewise, 13 seniors were categorized as anxious, based on a self-report questionnaire compared to 39 based on the interview. Among self-reported measures of mental health variables, logistic regression indicated that insomnia increases by 7 the likelihood of using BZD (odds ratio: 7.2) and is the only statistically significant variable associated with BZD consumption. Based on thorough interviews, logistic regression showed that insomnia (odds ratio: 6.9) is still the dominant symptom associated with BZD drugs. In conclusion, our results clearly support the assertion that mental health status is influenced according to how it is measured. Finally, nurses should be aware that not all individuals are capable of expressing their mental health problems using either psychological or emotional terminologies. They may opt for expressing their psychological suffering as a physical symptom such as sleeping problems.