HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Use of antipsychotics among older residents in VA nursing homes.
Gellad WF, Aspinall SL, Handler SM, Stone RA, Castle N, Semla TP, Good CB, Fine MJ, Dysken M, Hanlon JT. Use of antipsychotics among older residents in VA nursing homes. Medical care. 2012 Nov 1; 50(11):954-60.
Antipsychotic medications are commonly prescribed to nursing home residents despite their well-established adverse event profiles. Because little is known about their use in Veterans Affairs (VA) nursing homes [ie, Community Living Centers (CLCs)], we assessed the prevalence and risk factors for antipsychotic use in older residents of VA CLCs.
This cross-sectional study included 3692 Veterans age 65 or older who were admitted between January 2004 and June 2005 to one of 133 VA CLCs and had a stay of = 90 days. We used VA Pharmacy Benefits Management data to examine antipsychotic use and VA Medical SAS datasets and the Minimum Data Set to identify evidence-based indications for antipsychotic use (eg, schizophrenia, dementia with psychosis). We used multivariable logistic regression and generalized estimating equations to identify factors independently associated with antipsychotic receipt.
Overall, 948/3692(25.7%) residents received an antipsychotic, of which 59.3% had an evidence-based indication for use. Residents with aggressive behavior [odds ratio (OR) = 2.74, 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.04-3.67] and polypharmacy (9+ drugs; OR = 1.84, 95% CI, 1.41-2.40) were more likely to receive antipsychotics, as were users of antidepressants (OR = 1.37, 95% CI, 1.14-1.66), anxiolytic/hypnotics (OR = 2.30, 95% CI, 1.64-3.23), or drugs for dementia (OR = 1.52, 95% CI, 1.21-1.92). Those residing in Alzheimer/dementia special care units were also more likely to receive an antipsychotic (OR = 1.66, 95% CI, 1.26-2.21). Veterans with dementia but no documented psychosis were as likely as those with an evidence-based indication to receive an antipsychotic (OR = 1.10, 95% CI, 0.82-1.47).
Antipsychotic use is common among VA nursing home residents aged 65 and older, including those without a documented evidence-based indication for use. Further quality improvement efforts are needed to reduce potentially inappropriate antipsychotic prescribing.