There is currently insufficient data describing how new medications are provided to older adult ambulatory patients with dementia in the United States (US).

To describe characteristics of ambulatory care visits for adults ≥ 65 years old and investigate differences in prescribing of new medications between patients with and without dementia.

We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study using the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) in the US. Non-perioperative ambulatory care visits of patients ≥ 65 years old with sampling weights were used to provide national estimates of visits. Baseline characteristics were compared between visits for patients with and without dementia using Pearson's chi square or Student's t-tests. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate the odds of receiving a new medication.

218,182,131 non-perioperative ambulatory care visits of patients ≥ 65 years old were included, 2.1% of which were for patients with dementia; these patients were older on average and had more comorbidities and higher ambulatory care utilization than those without dementia. New medications were provided at 26.3% of visits for patients with dementia. After adjusting for confounders, there was no statistically significant difference in odds of a new medication being provided between visits for patients with and without dementia (odds ratio [OR], 0.555; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.183–1.678). Differences were seen in the provision of cholinesterase inhibitors, antipsychotics, and central nervous system agents at visits for patients with dementia (p = 0.0011, < 0.0001, and 0.0011 respectively).

While fewer visits for patients with dementia provided new medications compared to patients without dementia, after adjusting for confounders no significant difference were identified. Significant differences were seen in the classes of new medications provided. Further investigation is needed to evaluate new medication usage and the utility of pharmacists in the care of patients with dementia at an outpatient setting.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy, v. 3, 100058.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging [R01AG054130].

1-s2.0-S2667276621000585-mmc1.docx (27 kB)
Supplementary Table S1. Reason for visit.

1-s2.0-S2667276621000585-mmc2.docx (35 kB)
Supplementary Table S2. Covariates with definitions adjusted for in logistic regression model1.