, Volume 69, Issue 8, pp 1589-1597
Date: 16 Apr 2013

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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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.


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.


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.


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.