Antipsychotic drugs are widely used to manage behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia despite concerns about their safety.
To examine the association between treatment with antipsychotics (both conventional and atypical) and all-cause mortality.
Population-based, retrospective cohort study.
Older adults with dementia who were followed between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2003.
The risk for death was determined at 30, 60, 120, and 180 days after the initial dispensing of antipsychotic medication. Two pairwise comparisons were made: atypical versus no antipsychotic use and conventional versus atypical antipsychotic use. Groups were stratified by place of residence (community or long-term care). Propensity score matching was used to adjust for differences in baseline health status.
A total of 27,259 matched pairs were identified. New use of atypical antipsychotics was associated with a statistically significant increase in the risk for death at 30 days compared with nonuse in both the community-dwelling cohort (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.02 to 1.70]; absolute risk difference, 0.2 percentage point) and the long-term care cohort (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.55 [CI, 1.15 to 2.07]; absolute risk difference, 1.2 percentage points). Excess risk seemed to persist to 180 days, but unequal rates of censoring over time may have affected these results. Relative to atypical antipsychotic use, conventional antipsychotic use was associated with a higher risk for death at all time points. Sensitivity analysis revealed that unmeasured confounders that increase the risk for death could diminish or eliminate the observed associations.
Information on causes of death was not available. Many patients did not continue their initial treatments after 1 month of therapy. Unmeasured confounders could affect associations.
Atypical antipsychotic use is associated with an increased risk for death compared with nonuse among older adults with dementia. The risk for death may be greater with conventional antipsychotics than with atypical antipsychotics.
Comment In: Evid Based Ment Health. 2008 May;11(2):5418441143
SummaryForPatientsIn: Ann Intern Med. 2007 Jun 5;146(11):I5217548405
: 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.
To determine whether children treated in emergency departments (EDs) with evidence-based standardized protocols (EBSPs) containing evidence-based content and format had lower risk of hospital admission or ED return visit and greater follow-up than children treated in EDs with no standardized protocols in Ontario, Canada.
Retrospective population-based cohort study of children with asthma. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate risk of outcomes.
All EDs in Ontario (N = 146) treating childhood asthma from April 2006 to March 2009.
Thirty-one thousand one hundred thirty-eight children (aged 2 to 17 years) with asthma. MAIN EXPOSURE Type of standardized protocol (EBSPs, other standardized protocols, or none).
Hospital admission, high-acuity 7-day return visit to the ED, and 7-day outpatient follow-up visit. RESULTS The final cohort made 46 510 ED visits in 146 EDs. From the index ED visit, 4211 (9.1%) were admitted to the hospital. Of those discharged, 1778 (4.2%) and 7350 (17.4%) had ED return visits and outpatient follow-up visits, respectively. The EBSPs were not associated with hospitalizations, return visits, or follow-up (adjusted odds ratio, 1.17 [95% CI, 0.91-1.49]; adjusted odds ratio, 1.10 [95% CI, 0.86-1.41]; and adjusted odds ratio, 1.08 [95% CI, 0.87-1.35], respectively).
The EBSPs were not associated with improvements in rates of hospital admissions, return visits to the ED, or follow-up. Our findings suggest the need to address gaps linking improved processes of asthma care with outcomes.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may receive benzodiazepines for a variety of reasons, including as treatment for insomnia, as treatment for depression and anxiety, and to help relieve refractory dyspnoea. However, benzodiazepines have been linked to adverse physiological respiratory outcomes in individuals with COPD. The potential adverse respiratory effects of benzodiazepines in COPD may also be heightened in older adults given their altered pharmacokinetics that increase benzodiazepine half-life. There is minimal information on the scope and nature of benzodiazepine use in the older adult COPD population.
The purpose of this study was to describe patterns of benzodiazepine use among older adults with COPD.
A validated algorithm was applied to Ontario healthcare administrative data to identify older adults with COPD. Incident oral benzodiazepine receipt between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2009, defined as no benzodiazepines dispensed in the year prior to incident prescription, was examined. Regression techniques were used to identify patient characteristics associated with new benzodiazepine use. Descriptive statistics were performed to describe benzodiazepine use among new users. The analysis was stratified by COPD severity defined by COPD exacerbation frequency (less severe COPD: 0 exacerbations in the year prior; more severe COPD: 1 or more exacerbations in the year prior).
Among 111,445 older adults with COPD, 35,311 (31.7 %) received a new benzodiazepine. New benzodiazepine receipt was higher among individuals with more severe COPD (adjusted odds ratio 1.43, 95 % CI 1.38-1.48). Among new benzodiazepine users, there was a relatively high frequency of receipt of long-acting agents (14.6 %), dispensations for greater than 30 days (32.6 %), second dispensations (22.0 % or 30.6 % for occurrence within 120 % or 200 % days of the index prescription, respectively), early refills (11.6 %), and benzodiazepine receipt during COPD exacerbations (9.0 %). Among individuals with more severe COPD, 35.4 % of incident use occurred during a COPD exacerbation.
Almost one-third of older individuals with COPD received a new benzodiazepine, and rates were higher among those with more severe COPD. Important safety and quality of care issues are potentially raised by the degree and pattern of benzodiazepine use in this older and respiratory-vulnerable population.
Though statins are fully reimbursed by the public drug programs for seniors in British Columbia (BC) and Ontario, Canada, population-based rates of statin prescription are markedly higher in Ontario. We aimed to assess whether new statin users in BC and Ontario differ in terms of their risk for future coronary heart disease (CHD) events.
We collected information for 1998-2001 on demographics, outpatient prescriptions, physician visits, hospital admissions, and vital status from administrative databases to compare the proportions of new statin users aged 66 years and older who had evidence of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), chronic CHD, neither ACS nor CHD but diabetes, or none of the above.
Approximately 15% and 20% of BC and Ontario seniors, respectively, had filled a statin prescription by 2001. Among new statin users in the two provinces, virtually identical proportions had evidence of ACS (8%), chronic CHD (25%), and diabetes (14%), for an overall proportion of roughly 50% at high risk for CHD events.
New statin users in BC and Ontario were at similar risk for future CHD events. Poorer case selection is unlikely to explain the relatively higher rates of statin prescription in Ontario.
Population rates of upper gastrointestinal (GI) hemorrhage have been observed to increase with the introduction and rapid uptake of selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. Changes in COX-2 inhibitor use and upper GI bleeding rates in regions with relatively restrictive drug policies (e.g., British Columbia) have not been compared with changes in regions with relatively less restrictive drug policies (e.g., Ontario).
We collected administrative data for about 1.4 million people aged 66 years and older in British Columbia and Ontario for the period January 1996 to November 2002. We examined temporal changes in the prevalence of NSAID use and admissions to hospital because of upper GI hemorrhage in both provinces using cross-sectional time series analysis.
During the period studied, the prevalence of NSAID use in British Columbia's population of older people increased by 25% (from 8.7% to 10.9%; p
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Administrative healthcare databases are used for health services research, comparative effectiveness studies, and measuring quality of care. Adjustment for comorbid illnesses is essential to such studies. Validation of methods to account for comorbid illnesses in administrative data for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been limited. Our objective was to compare the ability of the Charlson index, the Elixhauser method, and the Johns Hopkins' Aggregated Diagnosis Groups (ADGs) to predict outcomes in patients with COPD.
Retrospective cohorts constructed using population-based administrative data of patients with incident (n = 216,735) and prevalent (n = 638,926) COPD in Ontario, Canada, were divided into derivation and validation datasets. The primary outcome was all-cause death within 1 year. Secondary outcomes included all-cause hospitalization, COPD-specific hospitalization, non-COPD hospitalization, and COPD exacerbations.
In both the incident and prevalent COPD cohorts, the three methods had comparable discrimination for predicting mortality (c-statistics in the validation sample of incident patients of 0.819 for the Charlson method versus 0.822 for the Elixhauser method versus 0.830 for the ADG method). All three methods had lower predictive accuracy for predicting nonfatal outcomes.
In a disease-specific cohort of COPD patients, all three methods allowed for accurate prediction of mortality, with the Johns Hopkins ADGs having marginally higher discrimination.
To determine the prescription pattern and safety profile for irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in older adults over the past decade.
A population-based observational cohort study of older adults was conducted from January 1, 1997, to April 14, 2007, utilizing large administrative health care databases in Ontario, Canada. We examined the prevalence and incidence of irreversible MAOI use, as well as the frequency of coprescribing of MAOIs with contraindicated medications such as serotonergic and sympathomimetic drugs. We reviewed the most responsible diagnosis of emergency department (ED) visits and acute care admissions to assess for serious adverse events that may occur during MAOI treatment (ie, serotonin syndrome and hypertensive crisis).
Over a 10-year period, there were 348 new users of irreversible MAOIs. The majority of patients showed a previous treatment pattern consistent with recurrent major depressive disorder, including prior use of antidepressant treatment and electroconvulsive therapy. The yearly incidence of MAOI prescriptions remained low and decreased from a rate of 3.1/100,000 to 1.4/100,000. Concomitant exposure to at least 1 serotonergic drug occurred in 18.1% of patients treated with an MAOI. No ED visits or acute care admissions for serotonin syndrome or hypertensive crisis were identified.
The low prescription rate of MAOIs is not consistent with the continued recommendation of MAOIs by expert opinion leaders and consensus guidelines for use in atypical depression and treatment-refractory depression. While their use appeared safe, heightened awareness of the potential risk of concomitant use of serotonergic agents is necessary. Relative underuse of the MAOIs for a significant subgroup of depressed patients with atypical and treatment-refractory depression remains a concern.
Women's College Research Institute, Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
To better understand how centenarians use the healthcare system as an important step toward improving their service delivery.
Population-based retrospective cohort study using linked health administrative data.
Ontario--Canada's largest province.
All individuals living in Ontario aged 65 and older on April 1 of each year between 1995 and 2010 were identified and divided into three age groups (65-84, 85-99, = 100). A detailed description was obtained on 1,842 centenarians who were alive on April 1, 2010.
Sociodemographic characteristics and use of health services.
The number of centenarians increased from 1,069 in 1995 to 1,842 in 2010 (72.3%); 6.7% were aged 105 and older. Over the same period, the number of individuals aged 85 to 99 grew from 119,955 to 227,703 (89.8%). Women represented 85.3% of all centenarians and 89.4% of those aged 105 and older. Almost half of centenarians lived in the community (20.0% independently, 25.3% with publicly funded home care). Preventive drug therapies (bisphosphonates and statins) were frequently dispensed. In the preceding year, 18.2% were hospitalized and 26.6% were seen in an emergency department. More than 95% saw a primary care provider, and 5.3% saw a geriatrician.
The number of centenarians in Ontario increased by more than 70% over the last 15 years, with even greater growth among older people who could soon become centenarians. Almost half of centenarians live in the community, most are women, and almost all receive care from a primary care physician.
Performance measures are essential components of public reporting and quality improvement. To date, few such measures exist to provide a comprehensive assessment of the quality of emergency department services for children.
Our goal was to use a systematic process to develop measures of emergency department care for children (0-19 years) that are (1) based on research evidence and expert opinion, (2) representative of a range of conditions treated in most emergency departments, (3) related to links between processes and outcomes, and (4) feasible to measure.
We presented a panel of providers and managers data from emergency department use to identify common conditions across levels of patient acuity, which could be targets for quality improvement. We used a structured panel process informed by a literature review to (1) identify condition-specific links between processes of care and defined outcomes and (2) select indicators to assess these process-outcome links. We determined the feasibility of calculating these indicators using an administrative data set of emergency department visits for Ontario, Canada.
The panel identified 18 clinical conditions for indicator development and 61 condition-specific links between processes of care and outcomes. After 2 rounds of ratings, the panel defined 68 specific clinical indicators for the following conditions: adolescent mental health problems, ankle injury, asthma, bronchiolitis, croup, diabetes, fever, gastroenteritis, minor head injury, neonatal jaundice, seizures, and urinary tract infections. Visits for these conditions account for 23% of all pediatric emergency department use. Using an administrative data set, we were able to calculate 19 indicators, covering 9 conditions, representing 20% of all emergency department visits by children.
Using a structured panel process, data on emergency department use, and literature review, it was possible to define indicators of emergency department care for children. The feasibility of these indicators will depend on the availability of high-quality data.