Study: Patients With Dementia Medicated For “Questionable” Benefits

The Los Angeles Times (9/10, Healy) “Science Now” blog reported that a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found “more than half of nursing home patients” suffering from severe dementia, who are likely to die within a year or two, are being “administered medications that offer little or no benefit” by physicians and families, causing “pointless discomfort,” health risks and “inflating the cost of care.” Two kinds of medicines the study discussed are for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and lipid-lowering medications.

The New York Times (9/9, Span) “The New Old Age” blog reported that the study findings were deeply troubling, focusing on the potential harm from such medications and the patients often being unable to communicate their discomfort from the treatments. According to study’s lead author, Dr. Jennifer Tija, the drugs with “questionable benefits” have their proponents and therefore “discontinuing them remained controversial.” Dr. Tija adds that due to set “cultures and practice patterns,” these medications are continued to be prescribed even after the little value and purpose they provide.

Related Links:

— “Dementia patients continue to get medications with little, no benefit,” Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2014.

Posted in In The News.