Patterns of medication prescription by dementia diagnosis in Australian nursing home residents: a cross-sectional study

Enwu Liu, Suzanne M. Dyer, Craig Whitehead, Lisa Kouladjian O'Donnell, Emmanuel S. Gnanamanickam, Stephanie L. Harrison, Rachel Milte, Maria Crotty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Current information on the patterns of medication use in nursing home residents living with dementia is conflicting. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate medication use and its associations with dementia diagnosis in Australian nursing home residents. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 541 residents from 17 Australian nursing homes was performed. Results: Over 12 months, nursing home residents were prescribed a mean (±SD) of 14.5 ± 6.8 medications each. Approximately 95% of residents were prescribed medications for the nervous system, and 94% were prescribed medications for the alimentary tract and metabolism. After adjustment for potential confounders, those with dementia were less likely to be prescribed medications for the cardiovascular system (odds ratio (OR) 0.45, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.27–0.77, p = 0.0032) and respiratory system (OR 0.38, 95% CI: 0.25–0.60, p < 0.0001). Further analysis of specific medications showed that residents with dementia were more likely to be prescribed risperidone (OR: 9.38, 95% CI: 4.01–21.94, p < 0.0001), buprenorphine (OR 3.37, 95% CI: 1.78–6.36, p = 0.0002) and trimethoprim (OR 1.78, 95% CI: 1.06–2.97, p = 0.0282), but less likely to be prescribed glyceryl trinitrate (OR 0.42, 95% CI: 0.19–0.94, p = 0.0340) and salbutamol (OR 0.34, 95% CI: 0.2–0.6, p = 0.0002) in addition to other specific medications. Conclusions: Increased awareness of possible undertreatment of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and possible overtreatment of urinary tract infection, in those living with dementia in nursing home settings may improve management of this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • aged
  • dementia
  • nursing home
  • prescribed medicines
  • residential facilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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