Nearly half of SNF residents with dementia get 'questionable' drugs, study finds

Share this content:

Nearly half of nursing home residents with dementia received at least one medication with limited benefits or unnecessary risks shortly before their death, according to recent research.

A study of Canadian nursing home residents found that more than 86% received at least one “medication of questionable benefit” — including statins, antidementia drugs, and antiplatelet agents — in their last 120 days of life. The most commonly prescribed drugs in the residents' last 120 days were cholinesterase inhibitors and statins, at nearly 64% and 48%, respectively.

The total percentage of residents receiving an MQB dropped to 66% in the residents' last two weeks, and 45% in the final week, the study showed. But use of the drugs could be reduced even further, according to the research team. The study was conducted at the Women's College Research Institute in Toronto.

“There is a recognition, to some extent, that when people are getting worse, there may be less of a role for these medications,” Paula A. Rochon, M.D., told Medscape last week. "But we need to start backing that up and thinking about this at a much earlier stage."

Results of the study were published in late March in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.