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We studied the patient and non-patients factors of inappropriate psychotropic drug (PD) prescription for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with severe dementia.
In a cross-sectional study, the appropriateness of prescriptions was explored using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index sum score. This index assesses information from medical records on indication, evaluation, dosage, drug–drug interactions, drug–disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration. Various measurements were carried out to identify the possible patient and non-patient factors. Linear multilevel regression analysis was used to identify factors that are associated with APID index sum scores. Analyses were performed for groups of PDs separately, i.e. antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics.
The sample consisted of 338 patients with a PD prescription that used 147 antipsychotics, 167 antidepressants, 85 anxiolytics, and 76 hypnotics. It was found that older patients and more severe aggression, agitation, apathy, and depression were associated with more appropriate prescriptions. Additionally, less appropriate prescriptions were found to be associated with more severe anxiety, dementia diagnoses other than Alzheimer dementia, more physician time available per patient, more patients per physician, more years of experience of the physician, and higher nurse's workload.
The association of more pronounced NPS with more appropriate PD prescriptions implies that physicians should pay more attention to the appropriateness of PD prescriptions when NPS are less manifest. Non-patient-related factors are also associated with the appropriateness of PD prescriptions. However, especially considering that some of these findings are counter-intuitive, more research on the topic is recommended.
This study explores the appropriateness of psychotropic drug (PD) use for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in nursing home patients with dementia.
A cross-sectional study on 559 patients with dementia residing on dementia special care units in Dutch nursing homes was conducted. Appropriateness of PD use was assessed using the Appropriate Psychotropic drug use In Dementia (APID) index. The APID index score is calculated using information about individual PDs from patients’ medical records. The index encompasses seven (different) domains of appropriateness, i.e. indication, evaluation, dosage, drug-drug interactions, drug-disease interactions, duplications, and therapy duration.
A total of 578 PDs were used for NPS by 60% of the nursing home patients. Indication, evaluation, and therapy duration contributed the most to inappropriate use. Ten per cent of the PDs scored fully appropriate according to the APID index sum score, 36% scored fully appropriate for indication, 46% scored fully appropriate for evaluation, and 58% scored fully appropriate for therapy duration. Antidepressants were used the most appropriately, and antiepileptics the most inappropriately.
The minority of the PD use was fully appropriate. The results imply that PD use for NPS in dementia can be improved; the appropriateness should be optimized with a clinical focus on the appropriate indications, evaluations, and therapy duration.
Apathy is common in nursing home (NH) residents and it overlaps with depression. This study examines the effects of a multidisciplinary depression program on apathy and depressive motivational and mood symptoms.
Secondary analyses of a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized controlled trial were conducted with six measurements. Sixteen dementia NH units and 17 somatic units were enrolled. In the intervention condition, a program containing depression assessment procedures and multidisciplinary treatment (activating strategies, psychotherapy, and medication) was introduced. Usual care was provided in the control condition. Outcomes were assessed using the 10-item Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia.
Intention-to-treat analyses showed that the whole depression management program reduced apathy in dementia units (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.35), and depressive motivational symptoms in somatic units (p = 0.008; Cohen's d, −0.40). Depressive mood symptoms were not affected in both unit types. The effect on apathy in dementia units was mainly attributed to activating strategies (p < 0.001; Cohen's d, −0.73). The effect on motivational symptoms in somatic units was mainly attributed to psychotherapy (p = 0.002; Cohen's d, −0.80). Apathy worsening was associated with pharmacological depression treatment in both unit types (p = 0.009; Cohen's d, 0.35).
Depression management may affect apathy and depressive symptoms differently, which underpins the position of apathy as a distinct syndrome. NH professionals can effectively use activating strategies in dementia units, and psychotherapy in somatic units. More research is needed on treating depressive mood symptoms, and on effects of antidepressants in NHs.
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