The Negative Impact of Psychotropic Drug Use on Quality of Life in Nursing Home Patients at Different Stages of Dementia: Cross-Sectional Analyses from the COSMOS Trial

Erika Ito, Line Iden Berge, Bettina S. Husebo, Rui Nouchi, Reidun K.N.M. Sandvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The quality of life (QoL) in nursing home (NH) patients with dementia is threatened by neuropsychiatric symptoms. This may trigger the use of psychotropic drugs, yet it is unknown if this practice improves the QoL. We investigated the association between the number of psychotropic drugs and QoL at different stages of dementia, adjusted for neuropsychiatric symptoms. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the COSMOS study, a multicenter, cluster-randomized, single-blinded, controlled trial. Setting and Participation: Four hundred thirty-one patients (aged ≥65 years) with and without dementia from 33 Norwegian NHs comprising 67 wards. Measures: QoL assessed by Quality of Life in Late Stage Dementia (QUALID) and Quality of Life in Dementia (QUALIDEM), neuropsychiatric symptoms by Neuropsychiatric Inventory–Nursing Home version, and cognition by Mini-Mental State Examination. Results: At least 1 psychotropic drug was prescribed to 71% of the 431 participants included in the final sample. We estimated the trend in mean QoL scores over the number of psychotropic drugs in patients with clinical significant neuropsychiatric symptom load. QoL assessed by QUALID and QUALIDEM decreased by increasing number of psychotropic drugs (P < .001). No psychotropic drugs (mean QUALID score 20 ± 0.5, mean QUALIDEM score 40 ± 8.1) compared to ≥3 psychotropic drug (mean QUALID score 25 ± 7.8, mean QUALIDEM score 33 ± 8.0). This association was evident in mild, moderate, and severe dementia but absent in people without dementia. Use of antidepressant agents in mild and moderate dementia was associated with increased QoL compared with no use of antidepressant agents. Conclusions and Implications: Overall, our findings suggest that psychotropic drugs might pose a threat to QoL in NH patients at all stages of dementia, possibly with the exception of use of antidepressant agents in mild to moderate dementia. This underlines the need for updated knowledge on psychopharmacologic treatment and implementation of procedures for maintaining QoL in dementia care facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1628
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

Keywords

  • Nursing home
  • dementia
  • psychotropic drugs
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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