, Volume 69, Issue 8, pp 1589-1597

Potentially inappropriate medication use among patients with Alzheimer disease in the REAL.FR cohort: be aware of atropinic and benzodiazepine drugs!

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Abstract

Objective

Few studies have investigated potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of our study was to assess the prevalence of PIM in community-dwelling patients diagnosed with mild-to-moderate AD and identify the clinical factors associated with PIM prescriptions.

Methods

REAL.FR is a 4-year, prospective, multicenter French cohort of AD patients recruited in centers of expertise. We analyzed patient baseline data at entry into the study. PIMs were assessed using the Laroche list. A multivariate logistic regression was conducted to assess factors associated with PIMs.

Results

A total of 684 AD patients were enrolled in the study [mean age 77.9 ± 6.8 years, 486 (71.0 %) females]. According to the Laroche list, 46.8 % [95 % confidence interval (CI) 43.0–50.5 %] of the patients had at least one PIM. “Cerebral vasodilators” were the most widely used class of PIM, accounting for 24.0 % (95 % CI 20.9–27.3 %) of all prescriptions, followed by atropinic drugs (17.0 %, 95 % CI 14.1–19.8 %) and long half-life benzodiazepines (8.5 %, 95 % CI 6.4–10.6 %). Atropinic drugs were associated with cholinesterase inhibitors in 16 % of patients. In the multivariate analysis, only two factors, namely, female gender [odds ratio (OR) 1.5, 95 % CI 1.1–2.2] and polypharmacy (≥5 drugs; OR 3.6, 95 % CI 2.6–4.5) were associated with prescriptions for PIMs.

Conclusions

These results reveal that approximately one out of two community-dwelling patients with mild-to-moderate AD treated by AD specialists use PIMs. They also indicate that the characteristics of the disease and the pharmacodynamic/pharmacokinetic profile of the drugs prescribed are not sufficiently taken into account by physicians when prescribing for AD patients.

François Montastruc and Virginie Gardette contributed equally to designing and writing the article, including the references.