Dementia patients more likely to be given unnecessary prescriptions

Dementia Perception

People living with dementia are 17% more likely to be given unnecessary prescriptions, according to new research.

Barchester Healthcare has highlighted University of Sydney research which found that people with neurodegenerative conditions are often given drugs to treat ailment such as acid reflux, which they don’t need.

Dr Danijela Gnjidic, lead author of the research, said difficulties with comprehension and communication were among the reasons for unnecessary prescriptions.

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He called for better communication between GPs, pharmacists, dementia patients and carers in order to make more informed conditions about medication, while arguing for the continual re-evaluation of prescriptions.

Issues connected with unnecessary medication include increased drowsiness and sedation, which can lead to falls, fractures and hospitalisations.

Dr Gnjidic said: “Further efforts are clearly needed to support better recognition of potentially inappropriate medications to minimise possible harms and warrants interventions to minimise such prescribing. De-prescribing unnecessary medications may improve an individual’s quality of life and can reduce unnecessary healthcare costs.”

Some 850,000 people have dementia in the UK and without a cure, the number is set to rise to one million by 2025 and two million by 2051. These figures are provided by the Alzheimer’s Society, which states that one in six people over the age of 80 are affected by the condition.

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