depression elderly nursing home

Common Drugs Hike Death Risks By 31%

A class of medications commonly prescribed to seniors for conditions such as urinary incontinence might increase the risk of mortality among nursing home residents with depression, a recently published study shows.  Anticholinergic drugs have previously been found to increase emergency department and hospital visits for seniors, but little research had been done on the link between the drugs’ use and mortality among nursing home residents, researchers from the University of Houston said. Their study, published in June in Drugs & Aging, used nearly 45,000 residents’ Minimum Data Set information. The residents included in the study were prescribed “clinically significant” anticholinergic medications and had previously been diagnosed with depression. Read more.

Source: McKnight’s, August 9, 2017

elderly underactive bladder symptoms needed to be reported

Drug Tied to Dementia Risk Overprescribed to Seniors: Study

A drug linked to a raised risk of dementia is taken by millions of older Americans who have an overactive bladder, researchers say.  More than one-quarter of patients with the urinary problem had been prescribed the drug oxybutynin (Ditropan), an international team of investigators found.  Yet, “oxybutynin is a particularly poor drug for overactive bladder in elderly patients,” said study lead author Dr. Daniel Pucheril, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.  Prior studies have linked the drug to thinking problems and increased risk of dementia in older people, possibly because of the way it affects brain chemicals, he said.  “It’s a great and effective drug for younger patients, but is a risky drug for older patients,” Pucheril said. It boosts dementia risk even when not taken indefinitely, he said.  Alternatives exist but they’re more expensive and may not be covered by insurance, at least initially, the study authors explained.  Read more.

Source: HealthDay News, March 30, 2017