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Depression/anxiety symptoms and self-reported difficulty managing medication regimen among community-dwelling older adults.

Choi NG, Choi BY, Marti CN, Kunik ME. Depression/anxiety symptoms and self-reported difficulty managing medication regimen among community-dwelling older adults. General hospital psychiatry. 2022 Jul 15; 78:50-57.

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OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between depression/anxiety severity and changes in severity and self-reported difficulty managing medications among a representative sample of community-residing US Medicare beneficiaries without a reported dementia diagnosis. METHOD: We used the 2018 and 2019 National Health and Aging Trend Study (analysis sample N  =  3198, 98% age 70+). Depression/anxiety was measured with the PHQ-4, and difficulty managing medication was self-reported. Following descriptive statistics, we fit a multinomial logistic regression model to examine the associations between depression/anxiety symptoms in 2018 and changes in severity between 2018 and 2019 and self-reported level of difficulty managing medication in 2019. RESULTS: Of past-month prescription medication users in 2019, 85.2%, 10.7%, and 4.1% reported no difficulty, a little/some difficulty, and a lot of difficulty or partial/full reliance on other''s help for health/functioning reasons, respectively. Both mild and moderate/severe levels of depression/anxiety in 2018 were associated with significantly higher risks of a little/some difficulty and a lot of difficulty/other''s help in 2019. Compared to no change in depression/anxiety symptoms between 2018 and 2019, decreased symptoms were associated with lower risk (RRR  =  0.47, 95% CI  =  0.28-0.78) and increased symptoms were associated with higher risk (RRR  =  1.73, 95% CI  =  1.12-2.67) of a little/some difficulty managing one''s medication. CONCLUSIONS: Decrease and increase in depression/anxiety are associated with decreased and increased risk, respectively, of medication self-management difficulty among community-residing older adults. Healthcare providers should more carefully assess for medication management problems in their older adults with depression and anxiety symptoms and provide individually tailored interventions for those with great difficulty self-managing medication.

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