Baseline Prevalence of Polypharmacy in Older Hypertensive Study Subjects with Elevated Dementia Risk: Findings from the Risk Reduction for Alzheimer's Disease Study (rrAD)

Eric D. Vidoni, Ashwini Kamat, William P. Gahan, Victoria Ourso, Kaylee Woodard, Diana R. Kerwin, Ellen F. Binder, Jeffrey M. Burns, Munro Cullum, Linda S. Hynan, Wanpen Vongpatanasin, David C. Zhu, Rong Zhang, Jeffrey N. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is known about the prevalence of polypharmacy, the taking of five or more medications a day, in older adults with specific dementia risk factors. Objective: To examine the prevalence of polypharmacy in participants at baseline in a vascular risk reduction focused Alzheimer's disease (rrAD) trial targeting older patients with hypertension and elevated dementia risk. Methods: We conducted a detailed review of medications in a cross-sectional study of community-dwelling older adults with hypertension and elevated dementia risk. Medications were identified in a structured interview process with an onsite pharmacist or qualified designee. Polypharmacy was defined as use of five or more medications on a regular basis. Descriptive analyses were conducted on the sample as well as direct comparisons of subgroups of individuals with hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia. Results: The 514 rrAD participants, mean age 68.8 (standard deviation [sd] 6), reported taking different combinations of 472 unique medications at their baseline visit. The median number of medications taken by participants was eight [Range 0-21], with 79.2% exhibiting polypharmacy (n=407). Sites differed in their prevalence of polypharmacy, χ2(3)=56.0, p<0.001. A nearly identical percentage of the 2,077 prescribed (51.8%) and over the counter (48.2%) medications were present in the overall medication profile. The presence of diabetes (87.5%), hyperlipidemia (88.2%), or both (97.7%) was associated with a higher prevalence of polypharmacy than participants who exhibited hypertension in the absence of either of these conditions (63.2%), χ2(3)=35.8, p<0.001. Conclusion: Participants in a dementia risk study had high levels of polypharmacy, with the co-existence of diabetes or hyperlipidemia associated with a greater prevalence of polypharmacy as compared to having hypertension alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-182
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume77
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • hypertension
  • inappropriate medication
  • polypharmacy
  • risk factor

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