High prevalence of central nervous system medications in community-dwelling older adults with dementia over a three-year period

D. Fick, A. Kolanowski, J. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Few recent studies have investigated the prevalence and outcomes for central nervous system (CNS)-active medication use in older persons with dementia (PWD) who live in the community. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe the health outcomes and patterns of use of CNS-active drugs in PWD living in the community. Using a retrospective study design from a southeastern managed care organization (MCO), claims data were collected for three years on all identified cases with dementia and included age, gender, medical diagnoses for each claim (International Classification of Disease [ICD-9 code]) and prescription drugs (National Drug Code [NDC]). Individuals (N = 960) were selected who were continuously enrolled and had prescription drug coverage. Over 79% of PWD in this sample were on a CNS-active medication during the three-year period and 35% were on a benzodiazepine. The highest number of drug-related problems (DRPs) within 45 days after receiving a CNS drug prescription were for syncope, fatigue, altered level of consciousness, delirium, constipation, falls and fractures. This study illustrates the need to further examine inappropriate CNS-active medication use in PWD and to test non-pharmacologic therapies for the clinical problems that initiate their use in PWD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this