Comorbidity and polypharmacy in people with dementia: insights from a large, population-based cross-sectional analysis of primary care data

Clague, F., Mercer, S. W., McLean, G., Reynish, E. and Guthrie, B. (2017) Comorbidity and polypharmacy in people with dementia: insights from a large, population-based cross-sectional analysis of primary care data. Age and Ageing, 46(1), pp. 33-39. (doi:10.1093/ageing/afw176) (PMID:28181629)

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Abstract

Background: The care of older people with dementia is often complicated by physical comorbidity and polypharmacy, but the extent and patterns of these have not been well described. This paper reports analysis of these factors within a large, cross-sectional Methods: Data were extracted for 291,169 people aged 65 years or older registered with 314 general practices in the UK, of whom 10,258 had an electronically recorded dementia diagnosis. Differences in the number and type of 32 physical conditions and the number of repeat prescriptions in those with and without dementia were examined. Age–gender standardised rates were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) of physical comorbidity and polypharmacy. Results: People with dementia, after controlling for age and sex, had on average more physical conditions than controls (mean number of conditions 2.9 versus 2.4; P < 0.001) and were on more repeat medication (mean number of repeats 5.4 versus 4.2; P < 0.001). Those with dementia were more likely to have 5 or more physical conditions (age–sex standardised OR [sOR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.35–1.50; P < 0.001) and were also more likely to be on 5 or more (sOR 1.46; 95% CI 1.40–1.52; P < 0.001) or 10 or more repeat prescriptions (sOR 2.01; 95% CI 1.90–2.12; P < 0.001). Conculsions: People with dementia have a higher burden of comorbid physical disease and polypharmacy than those without dementia, even after accounting for age and sex differences. Such complex needs require an integrated response from general health professionals and multidisciplinary dementia specialists.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McLean, Dr Gary and Mercer, Professor Stewart
Authors: Clague, F., Mercer, S. W., McLean, G., Reynish, E., and Guthrie, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:Age and Ageing
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0002-0729
ISSN (Online):1468-2834
Published Online:13 October 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Age and Ageing 46(1): 33-39
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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