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American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

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Objective—Antipsychotic (AP) utilization has grown significantly in long-term care (LTC) settings. Although a growing literature associates AP use with higher mortality in elderly with dementia, the association of APs with hospital events is unclear. The authors examine prevalence and trends in AP use by Medicare beneficiaries residing in LTC and the association of APs and other drug use variables with hospital events and mortality.

Design—Retrospective analysis using sequential multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.

Setting—Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey linked to Institutional Drug Administration and Minimum Data Set files.

Participants—A total of 2,363 LTC Medicare beneficiaries, 1999–2002. Measurements—Trends in LTC AP use overall and by type and duplicative use; association of AP utilization and two outcomes: hospital events and all-cause mortality.

Results—AP use rose markedly from 1999 to 2002 (26.4%–35.9%), predominantly due to increased use of atypical agents. After controlling for sociodemographic and clinical factors, AP use is not related to hospital events (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.82–1.63 p = 0.7951). AP use is associated with reduced mortality in unadjusted and intermediate models, but loss of significance in the final model (HR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.69–1.00, p = 0.0537) suggests that disease and drug burden factors may confound the AP-mortality relationship.

Conclusion—This study provides no evidence of increased hospital events or mortality in LTC residents who use AP medications. Findings contribute to a growing body of evidence that APs, particularly atypical agents, may be associated with reduced mortality in LTC residents.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in <American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 May ; 17(5): 417–427. doi:10.1097/JGP.0b013e31819b8936.