Polypharmacy in nursing home residents in the United States: Results of the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey

National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA.
The American journal of geriatric pharmacotherapy 02/2010; 8(1):63-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjopharm.2010.01.001.
Source: PubMed


Despite the need for and benefits of medications, polypharmacy (defined here as concurrent use of > or =9 medications) in nursing home residents is a concern. As the number of medications taken increases, so does the risk for adverse events. Monitoring polypharmacy in this population is important and can improve the quality of nursing home care.
The aims of this article were to estimate the use of polypharmacy in residents of nursing homes in the United States, to examine the associations between select resident and facility characteristics and polypharmacy, and to determine the leading therapeutic subclasses included in the polypharmacy received by these nursing home residents.
This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of US nursing home residents in 2004; the outcome was use of polypharmacy. The 2004 National Nursing Home Survey was used to collect medication data and other resident and facility information. Resident characteristics included age, sex, race, primary payment source, number of comorbidities, number of activities of daily living (ADLs) for which the resident required assistance, and length of stay (LOS) since admission. Facility characteristics included ownership and size (number of beds).
Of 13,507 nursing home residents who received care, 13,403 had valid responses for all 9 independent variables in the analyses. The prevalence of polypharmacy among nursing home residents in 2004 was approximately 40%. A multiple regression model controlling for resident and facility factors revealed that the odds of receiving polypharmacy were higher for residents who were female (odds ratio [OR] = 1.10; 95% CI, 1.00-1.20), were white, had Medicaid as a primary payer, had >3 comorbidities (OR = 1.57-5.18; 95% CI, 1.36-6.15), needed assistance with < or =4 ADLs, had an LOS since admission of 3 to <6 months (OR = 1.25; 95% CI, 1.04-1.50), and received care in a small, not- for-profit facility (data not shown for reference levels [OR = 1.00]). The most frequently reported medications for residents who received polypharmacy included gastrointestinal agents (laxatives, 47.5%; agents for acid/peptic disorders, 43.3%), drugs that affect the central nervous system (antidepressants, 46.3%; antipsychotics or antimanics, 25.9%), and pain relievers (nonnarcotic analgesics, 43.6%; antipyretics, 41.2%; antiarthritics, 31.2%).
Despite awareness of polypharmacy and its potential consequences in older patients, results of our analysis suggest that polypharmacy remains widespread in US nursing homes. Although complex medication regimens are often necessary for nursing home residents, monitoring polypharmacy and its consequences may improve the quality of nursing home care and reduce unnecessary health care spending related to adverse events.

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    • "One probable reason is that in our study, we assessed the medication use among diabetic residents, and an abundance of literature has suggested that the diabetic elderly have more complications and comorbidities than those without diabetes [3, 8, 9]. Prior literature has shown that there is a positive association between polypharmacy, inappropriate medication use, adverse events, and health care costs [14, 22]. It is therefore important to undertake regular medication review and modify the drug regimen of NH residents with diabetes and CKD to reduce the adverse events, minimize costs, and improve the quality of NH care. "
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    ABSTRACT: This retrospective study assessed the prevalence of moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD) among nursing home (NH) residents with type 2 diabetes. The pattern of oral antidiabetic drug (OAD) use and their concordance with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) guideline and prescribing information (PI) was also assessed. About half (47%) of diabetic residents had moderate to severe CKD. A little over a quarter of the 186 residents using OADs received at least one NKF-discordant OAD prescription. Metformin was the most commonly misused OAD. PI nonconcordance was observed in 58.6% of residents and was highest in glipizide and metformin users. With the high prevalence of moderate to severe CKD in NH residents with diabetes, physicians should consider residents' renal function when choosing treatment plans and review treatments regularly to check compliance with the NKF guidelines or PIs.
    International Journal of Nephrology 02/2014; 2014:151706. DOI:10.1155/2014/151706
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    • "The rate of polypharmacy >5 drugs appeared to be much lower than the rate reported in the National Nursing Home Survey conducted in the USA, where 40% of the patients used at least nine drugs.16 However, in the American survey, almost 12% of the residents were <65 years old and only 45% were >85 years, compared with 57% of the residents >85 years in our study, in whom polypharmacy was significantly lower. "
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the rate and variability of polypharmacy in nursing home (NH) residents and investigate its relationship to age, sex, functional status, length of stay, and comorbidities. We conducted a cross sectional, multicenter study that included six nursing homes. Demographic, clinical characteristics, Charlson comorbidity index (CCI), the number and classes of chronic medications, rate of polypharmacy >5 drugs (per day) and polypharmacy >7 drugs (per day) were recorded. Nine hundred and ninety-three residents were included; 750 (75.5%) fully dependent residents and 243 (24.5%) mobile demented residents requiring institutional care. The mean age was 85.04±7.55 (65-108) years. The mean rates of polypharmacy >5 drugs and polypharmacy >7 drugs were 42.6% and 18.6%, respectively. Differences in polypharmacy >5 drugs and polypharmacy >7 drugs were observed in NHs 24.7%-56% and 4.9%-30.4%, respectively (P<0.001). Mean number of chronic drugs per resident was 5.14±2.60 from 3.81±2.24 to 5.95±2.73 (P<0.001). No differences in polypharmacy were found between sex and fully dependent versus mobile demented residents. The most common medications taken were for gastrointestinal, neurological, and cardiovascular disorders. Regression analysis revealed four independent variables for polypharmacy >5 drugs: groups aged 75-84 and >85 relative to 65-74, odds ratio (OR) 0.46 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.27-0.78) P=0.004, OR 0.35 (95% confidence interval 0.19-0.53), respectively, P<0.001; length of stay >2 years, OR 0.51 (95% CI 0.36-0.73) P<0.001; CCI, OR 1.58 (95% CI 1.42-1.75) P<0.001; and feeding tube versus normal feeding, OR 0.27 (95% CI 0.12-0.60) P=0.001. Rates of polypharmacy in NHs are high with significant variability. Variability rates of polypharmacy, distinct residents' characteristics, and excessive use of certain drug groups may indicate that a decrease in medication is potentially feasible.
    Clinical Interventions in Aging 11/2013; 8:1585-1590. DOI:10.2147/CIA.S52698 · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    • "In a nationally representative sample of 13507 US nursing home residents, approximately 40% received 59 medications (Dwyer et al., 2010). In the context of polypharmacy, central nervous system (CNS) active drugs are among the most commonly used in the elderly (Dwyer et al., 2010; Kennerfalk et al., 2002), prevalently in combination with other drugs that may increase the risk for adverse events. "
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    ABSTRACT: Physicians treating demented individuals are confronted with complex clinical presentations. This complexity results from the multi-factorial nature of clinical phenomena, the aetiologies of these phenomena, which differ from similar symptoms in younger populations, limited physiological reserves and the multiple co-morbidities and medications. This intricacy is well exemplified within the clinical presentation and management of psychological and behavioural symptoms of dementia. The latter are associated with a poor quality of life, increased burden for both patient and caregivers. A further challenge and source for frustration is the fact that many of the medications used to treat cognitive and behavioural symptoms of dementia are only marginally effective or not effective at all, on the one hand, and associated with increased risk for morbidity and mortality on the other hand. In the present review, we discuss these factors in the context of polypharmacy and suggest further clinical and research strategies that may enable more accurate and less harmful therapeutic strategies.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2013; 17(07):1-11. DOI:10.1017/S1461145713000412 · 4.01 Impact Factor
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