Long-Term Care

Nursing homes administer pointless drugs to majority of residents with advanced dementia

MDS 3.0 Insider, September 11, 2014

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Nursing homes administer largely pointless and potentially harmful drugs to a majority of residents with advanced dementia, according to findings in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study looked at more than 5,400 residents, and found that about 54% received a medication with questionable benefit. Alzheimer's disease drugs such as donepezil (Aricept) and memantine (Namenda) were the most commonly administered. There is little evidence that they improve cognitive functioning for people with advanced stages of dementia.
The costs associated with these medications is substantial, the study found. The average 90-day expenditure for these drugs was around $800. This represents more than a third of the medication expenditures for residents with advanced dementia.

 

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