OCT 14, 2022 10:30 AM PDT

Being Prescribed Multiple Medications Linked to Dementia

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

In the five years prior to being diagnosed with dementia, patients commonly have prescriptions for three or more drugs to treat multiple health conditions. The corresponding study was published in Aging and Disease

Previous studies have found that multiple prescriptions for preventative medications may reduce their individual benefits and increase the possibility of harm from drug interaction and side effects. Other research indicates that those taking multiple medications who require hospital treatment are more likely to be re-admitted within three months of being discharged. 

"Given the rise in dementia cases internationally, the need to understand how patterns of polypharmacy evolve before and after a dementia diagnosis are important for devising a safe treatment programme for each patient,” said Shangming Zhou, Professor of e-Health at the University of Plymouth, lead author of the study.

“Our aim in this study was to help doctors find ways to prescribe multiple items of dementia medication safely and without reducing their effectiveness. The use of machine learning has been vital in helping us understand how these patterns develop, and our hope is we can now use this knowledge to treat patients,” he added. 

For the current study, researchers analyzed health data from 33,451 dementia patients in Wales. Data included medicine use every five years for 20 years prior to dementia diagnosis. Whereas just 5.5% of patients were prescribed three or more medications 16-20 years before dementia diagnosis, 82.16% of patients were prescribed three or more medications within five years of diagnosis. 

In the five years prior to dementia diagnosis, the researchers noted three distinct clusters of polypharmacy. The first, comprising 66.55% of patients, took medications for respiratory/ urinary infections, arthropathies and rheumatism, and cardiovascular disease. The second, including 22% of patients, took medicines for infections, arthropathies and rheumatism, cardio-metabolic disease, and depression.

The third group, comprising 2.6% of patients, took medicines for arthropathies, rheumatism, and osteoarthritis. The researchers noted that the closer to dementia diagnosis patients were, the more health conditions tended to cluster together. However, the further patients were from diagnosis, the more likely the occurance of health conditions were to be clearly distinct from each other. 

 

Sources: Aging and Disease, Science Daily 


 

About the Author
Other
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2022
Immunology
Alzheimer's Disease is Linked to Immune Dysregulation in CSF
Alzheimer's Disease is Linked to Immune Dysregulation in CSF
For many years, scientists have searched for the cause of Alzheimer's disease. While a lot of research attention foc ...
JAN 12, 2023
Drug Discovery & Development
Blood Pressure Drug Could Treat PTSD in Veterans
Blood Pressure Drug Could Treat PTSD in Veterans
A drug used to treat blood pressure and ADHD may be able to mitigate PTSD symptoms. The corresponding study was publishe ...
JAN 17, 2023
Health & Medicine
Human and Neandertal Brains are Similar in their Capacity to Learn
Human and Neandertal Brains are Similar in their Capacity to Learn
A new study argues that the way the different parts of the brain in humans and Neandertals learn similarly.
JAN 30, 2023
Neuroscience
Read a Map, Run, and Recall: How Orienteering can Fight Dementia
Read a Map, Run, and Recall: How Orienteering can Fight Dementia
McMaster University researchers have found that orienteering can prevent cognitive decline caused by dementia. The sport ...
JAN 31, 2023
Neuroscience
Acoustic Decoding of Brain Waves to Detect the Music a Person Is Hearing
Acoustic Decoding of Brain Waves to Detect the Music a Person Is Hearing
  Researchers at the University of Essex discovered a for monitoring brain waves that can identify the music a pers ...
FEB 01, 2023
Technology
Personalized brain models may improve surgical epilepsy treatment
Personalized brain models may improve surgical epilepsy treatment
Epilepsy affects an estimated 1.2 million adults in the U.S. alone, an upwards of three and a half million globally. In ...
Loading Comments...