Prevalence and determinants of anticholinergic medication use in elderly dementia patients.Drugs Aging. 2013 Oct; 30(10):837-44.DA
People with dementia are sensitive to cognitive side effects of anticholinergic drugs. However, little is known about the prevalence of anticholinergic medications and its predictors in a nationally representative sample of community-based elderly dementia patients in the USA.
The objectives of the study were to determine the prevalence and predictors of anticholinergic drugs use in elderly dementia patients.
The study involved retrospective analysis of the 2005-2009 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS), a nationally representative sample of the non-institutionalized US population. The study evaluated annual prevalence of anticholinergic drug use during the study period and factors associated with the use of anticholinergics among community-dwelling persons aged 65 and older with dementia. The anticholinergic drugs were identified using the Anticholinergic Drug Scale (ADS). Multiple logistic regression within the conceptual framework of the Anderson Behavioral Model was performed to identify predictors associated with clinically significant anticholinergic drug (ADS level 2 or 3) use.
According to the MEPS, there were a total of 1.56 [95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.34, 1.73] million elderly dementia patients annually during the study period. Approximately, 23.3 % (95 % CI 19.2, 27.5) of elderly dementia patients used clinically significant anticholinergic agents (ADS level 2 or 3). Among the need factors, elderly dementia patients having mood disorders [odds ratio (OR) 2.19; 95 % CI 1.19, 4.06] and urinary incontinence (OR 6.58; 95 % CI 2.84, 15.29) were more likely to use drugs with clinically significant anticholinergic activities. Of the enabling factors, the odds of receiving higher-level anticholinergic drugs were significantly lower for patients who resided in the West region (OR 0.41; 95 % CI 0.17, 0.95) compared to the reference group, Northeast.
Over one in five elderly dementia patients used drugs with clinically significant anticholinergic effects. Mood disorder, urinary incontinence, and region were significantly associated with use of these drugs. Concerted efforts are needed to improve the quality of medication use by focusing on clinically significant anticholinergic agents.