Deprescribing anticholinergic and sedative drugs to reduce polypharmacy in frail older adults living in the community: a randomized controlled trial

Hamish Jamieson, Prasad S Nishtala, Hans Ulrich Bergler, Susan K Weaver, John W Pickering, Nagham J Ailabouni, Rebecca Abey-Nesbit, Carolyn Gullery, Joanne Deely, Susan B Gee, Sarah N Hilmer, Dee Mangin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Polypharmacy is associated with poor outcomes in older adults. Targeted deprescribing of anticholinergic and sedative medications may improve health outcomes for frail older adults. Our pharmacist-led deprescribing intervention was a pragmatic two-arm randomized controlled trial stratified by frailty. We compared usual care (control) with the intervention of pharmacists providing deprescribing recommendations to general practitioners.

METHODS: Community-based older adults (≥65 years) from two New Zealand district health boards were recruited following a standardized interRAI needs assessment. The Drug Burden Index (DBI) was used to quantify use of sedative and anticholinergic medications for each participant. The trial was stratified into low, medium, and high frailty. We hypothesized that the intervention would increase the proportion of participants with a reduction in DBI ≥ 0.5 within six months.

RESULTS: Of 363 participants, 21 (12.7%) in the control group and 21 (12.2%) in the intervention group had a reduction in DBI ≥ 0.5. The difference in the proportion of -0.4% (95%CI: -7.9% to 7.0%) provided no evidence of efficacy for the intervention. Similarly, there was no evidence to suggest the effectiveness of this intervention for participants of any frailty level.

CONCLUSIONS: Our pharmacist-led medication review of frail older participants did not reduce the anticholinergic/sedative load within six months. Covid-19 lockdown measures required modification of the intervention. Subgroup analyses pre- and post-lockdown showed no impact on outcomes. Reviewing this and other deprescribing trials through the lens of implementation science may aid an understanding of the contextual determinants preventing or enabling successful deprescribing implementation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Gerontology: series A - Medical Sciences
Early online date24 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Deprescribing anticholinergic and sedative drugs to reduce polypharmacy in frail older adults living in the community: a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this