Publications by authors named "Helene G van der Meer"

7 Publications

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Drug Burden Index and Cognitive and Physical Function in Aged Care Residents: A Longitudinal Study.

J Am Med Dir Assoc 2020 08;21(8):1086-1092.e1

Department of PharmacoTherapy, PharmacoEpidemiology & PharmacoEconomics, University of Groningen, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Objectives: Anticholinergic/antimuscarinic and sedative medications (eg, benzodiazepines) have been found to be associated with poorer cognitive and physical function and mobility impairment in older age. However, previous studies were mostly conducted among community-dwelling older individuals and had often a cross-sectional design. Accordingly, our aim was to examine longitudinal associations between cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications and cognitive and physical function among residents from aged care homes.

Design: Longitudinal study.

Setting And Participants: A total of 4624 residents of Dutch aged care homes of whom data were collected between June 2005 and April 2014.

Methods: Outcome measures were collected with the Long-Term Care Facilities assessment from the international Residential Assessment Instrument (interRAI-LTCF) and included the Cognitive Performance Scale, the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Hierarchy scale, a timed 4-meter walk test, distance walked, hours of physical activity, and days being outside. Cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications was calculated with the Drug Burden Index (DBI), a linear additive pharmacological dose-response model. Associations were examined with linear mixed models to take the potential dependence of observations into account (ie, data were collected at repeated assessment occasions of residents who were clustered in aged care homes). Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, dementia, comorbidity (neurological, psychiatric, cardiovascular, oncological, and pulmonary), fractures, depressive symptoms, and medications excluded from the DBI.

Results: We observed significant longitudinal associations between a higher DBI and poorer ADLs, fewer hours of physical activity, and fewer days being outside. We found no significant longitudinal association between a higher DBI and poorer cognitive function.

Conclusions And Implications: Over time, cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications is associated with poorer physical but not cognitive function in aged care residents. Careful monitoring of aged care residents with high cumulative anticholinergic and sedative medication exposure is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2020.05.037DOI Listing
August 2020

Feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of an information technology-based, pharmacist-led intervention to prevent an increase in anticholinergic and sedative load among older community-dwelling individuals.

Ther Adv Drug Saf 2019 30;10:2042098618805881. Epub 2018 Oct 30.

University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Anticholinergic/sedative medications are frequently used by older people, despite their negative impacts on cognitive and physical function. We explore the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of an innovative information technology (IT)-based intervention to prevent an increase in anticholinergic/sedative load in older people.

Methods: This was a prospective study in 51 Dutch community pharmacies. Pharmacists used an IT-based tool to identify patients aged ⩾65 years, with existing high anticholinergic/sedative loads (drug burden index ⩾2) and a newly initiated anticholinergic/sedative medication. We determined the following. Feasibility: number of eligible patients identified. Acceptability: pharmacists' satisfaction with the intervention, pharmacists' time investment and patients' willingness to reduce medication use. Potential effectiveness: number of recommendations, rate of agreement of general practitioners (GPs) with proposed recommendations and factors associated with agreement. To evaluate the latter, pharmacists conducted medication reviews and proposed recommendations to GPs for 5-10 patients selected by the IT-based tool.

Results: We included 305 patients from 47 pharmacies. Feasibility: a mean of 17.0 (standard deviation, 8.8) patients were identified per pharmacy. Acceptability: 43 pharmacists (91.5%) were satisfied with the intervention. The median time investment per patient was 33 min (range 6.5-210). Of 35 patients, 30 (85.7%) were willing to reduce medication use. Potential effectiveness: pharmacists proposed 351 recommendations for 212 patients (69.5%). GPs agreed with recommendations for 108 patients (35.4%). Agreement to stop a medication was reached in 19.8% of recommendations for newly initiated medications (37 of 187) and for 15.2% of recommendations for existing medications (25 of 164). Agreement was more likely for recommendations on codeine [odds ratio (OR) 3.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14-9.57] or medications initiated by a specialist (OR 2.85; 95% CI 1.19-6.84) and less likely for pharmacies with lower level of collaboration with GPs (OR 0.15; 95% CI 0.02-0.97).

Conclusion: This innovative IT-based intervention was feasible, acceptable and potentially effective. In one-third of patients an increase in anticholinergic/sedative load was prevented within reasonable time investment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2042098618805881DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463339PMC
October 2018

Anticholinergic and sedative medication use in older community-dwelling people: A national population study in the Netherlands.

Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 2019 03 12;28(3):315-321. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

PharmacoTherapy, Epidemiology and Economics, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Purpose: To identify the proportion of older adults with a high anticholinergic/sedative load and to identify patient subgroups based on type of central nervous system (CNS)-active medication used.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of a nationwide sample of patients with anticholinergic/sedative medications dispensed by 1779 community pharmacies in the Netherlands (90% of all community pharmacies) in November 2016 was conducted. Patients aged older than 65 years with a high anticholinergic/sedative load defined as having a drug burden index (DBI) greater than 1 were included. Proportion of patients with a high anticholinergic/sedative load was calculated by dividing the number of individuals in our study population by the 2.4 million older patients using medications dispensed from study pharmacies. Patient subgroups based on type of CNS-active medications used were identified with latent class analysis.

Results: Overall, 8.7% (209 472 individuals) of older adults using medications had a DBI greater than 1. Latent class analysis identified four patient subgroups (classes) based on the following types of CNS-active medications used: "combined psycholeptic/psychoanaleptic medication" (class 1, 57.9%), "analgesics" (class 2, 17.9%), "antiepileptic medication" (class 3, 17.8%), and "anti-Parkinson medication" (class 4, 6.3%).

Conclusions: A large proportion of older adults in the Netherlands had a high anticholinergic/sedative load. Four distinct subgroups using specific CNS-active medication were identified. Interventions aiming at reducing the overall anticholinergic/sedative load should be tailored to these subgroups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pds.4698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6593836PMC
March 2019

Long-Term Exposure to Anticholinergic and Sedative Medications and Cognitive and Physical Function in Later Life.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2020 01;75(2):357-365

Department of PharmacoTherapy, -Epidemiology & -Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Anticholinergic and sedative medications are frequently prescribed to older individuals. These medications are associated with short-term cognitive and physical impairment, but less is known about long-term associations. We therefore examined whether over 20 years cumulative exposure to these medications was related to poorer cognitive and physical functioning.

Methods: Older adult participants of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were followed from 1992 to 2012. On seven measurement occasions, cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications was quantified with the drug burden index (DBI), a linear additive pharmacological dose-response model. Cognitive functioning was assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Alphabet Coding Task (ACT, three trials), Auditory Verbal Learning Test (AVLT, learning and retention condition), and Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM, two trials). Physical functioning was assessed with the Walking Test (WT), Cardigan Test (CT), Chair Stands Test (CST), Balance Test (BT), and self-reported Functional Independence (FI). Data were analyzed with linear mixed models adjusted for age, education, sex, living with a partner, BMI, depressive symptoms, comorbidities (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, COPD, osteoarthritis, CNS diseases), and prescribed medications.

Results: Longitudinal associations were found of the DBI with poorer cognitive functioning (less items correct on the three ACT trials, AVLT learning condition, and the two RCPM trials) and with poorer physical functioning (longer completion time on the CT, CST, and lower self-reported FI).

Conclusions: This longitudinal analysis of data collected over 20 years, showed that higher long-term cumulative exposure to anticholinergic and sedative medications was associated with poorer cognitive and physical functioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glz019DOI Listing
January 2020

Reducing the anticholinergic and sedative load in older patients on polypharmacy by pharmacist-led medication review: a randomised controlled trial.

BMJ Open 2018 07 19;8(7):e019042. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Unit of PharmacoTherapy, Epidemiology and Economics, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.

Objective: To evaluate if a pharmacist-led medication review is effective at reducing the anticholinergic/sedative load, as measured by the Drug Burden Index (DBI).

Design: Randomised controlled single blind trial.

Setting: 15 community pharmacies in the Northern Netherlands.

Participants: 157 community-dwelling patients aged ≥65 years who used ≥5 medicines for ≥3 months, including at least one psycholeptic/psychoanaleptic medication and who had a DBI≥1.

Intervention: A medication review by the community pharmacist in collaboration with the patient's general practitioner and patient.

Primary And Secondary Outcomes Measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of patients whose DBI decreased by at least 0.5. Secondary outcomes were the presence of anticholinergic/sedative side effects, falls, cognitive function, activities of daily living, quality of life, hospital admission and mortality. Data were collected at baseline and 3 months follow-up.

Results: Mean participant age was 75.7 (SD, 6.9) years in the intervention arm and 76.6 (SD, 6.7) years in the control arm, the majority were female (respectively 69.3% and 72.0%). Logistic regression analysis showed no difference in the proportion of patients with a≥0.5 decrease in DBI between intervention arm (17.3%) and control arm (15.9%), (OR 1.04, CI 0.47 to 2.64, p=0.927). Intervention patients scored higher on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, measure of cognitive function (OR 2.02, CI 1.11 to 3.67, p=0.021) and reported fewer sedative side effects (OR 0.61, CI 0.40 to 0.94, p=0.024) at follow-up. No significant difference was found for other secondary outcomes.

Conclusions: Pharmacist-led medication review as currently performed in the Netherlands was not effective in reducing the anticholinergic/sedative load, measured with the DBI, within the time frame of 3 months. Preventive strategies, signalling a rising load and taking action before chronic use of anticholinergic/sedative medication is established may be more successful.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02317666.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019042DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6059312PMC
July 2018

Changes in Prescribing Symptomatic and Preventive Medications in the Last Year of Life in Older Nursing Home Residents.

Front Pharmacol 2017 23;8:990. Epub 2018 Jan 23.

Discipline of Pharmacy, Graduate School of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

At the end of life goals of care change from disease prevention to symptomatic control, however, little is known about the patterns of medication prescribing at this stage. To explore changes in prescribing of symptomatic and preventive medication in the last year of life in older nursing home residents. A retrospective cohort study was conducted using pharmacy medication supply data of 553 residents from 16 nursing home facilities around Sydney, Australia. Residents received 24-h nursing care, were aged ≥ 65 years, died between June 2008 and June 2010 and were using at least one medication 1 year before death. Medications were classified as symptomatic, preventive, or other. A linear mixed model was used to compare changes in prescribing in the last year of life. 68.1% of residents were female, mean age was 88.0 (: 7.5) years and residents used a mean of 9.1 (: 4.1) medications 1 year before death. The mean number of symptomatic medications per resident increased from 4.6 medications 1 year before death to 5.1 medications at death [95% CI 4.4-4.7 to 5.9-5.2, = 0.000], while preventive medication decreased from 2.0 to 1.4 medications [95% CI 1.9-2.1 to 1.3-1.5, = 0.000]. Symptomatic medications were used longer in the last year of life, compared to preventive medications (336.3 days [95% CI 331.8-340.8] versus 310.9 days [95% CI 305.2-316.7], = 0.000). Use of medications for symptom relief increased throughout the last year of life, while medications for prevention of long-term complications decreased. But changes were slight and clinical relevance can be questioned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2017.00990DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5787351PMC
January 2018

Decreasing the load? Is a Multidisciplinary Multistep Medication Review in older people an effective intervention to reduce a patient's Drug Burden Index? Protocol of a randomised controlled trial.

BMJ Open 2015 Dec 23;5(12):e009213. Epub 2015 Dec 23.

Department of Pharmacy, Section of Pharmacotherapy and Pharmaceutical Care, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Older people often use medications with anticholinergic or sedative side effects which increase the risk of falling and worsen cognitive impairment. The Drug Burden Index (DBI) is a measure of the burden of anticholinergic and sedative medications. Medication reviews are typically done by a pharmacist in collaboration with a general practitioner to optimise the medication use and reduce these adverse drug events. We will evaluate whether a Multidisciplinary Multistep Medication Review (3MR) is an effective intervention to reduce a patient's DBI.

Methods: A randomised controlled trial including 160 patients from 15 community pharmacies will be conducted. Per pharmacy, 1 pharmacist will perform a structured 3MR in close collaboration with the general practitioner, including the objective to reduce the DBI.

Analysis: Primary outcome--the difference in proportion of patients having a decrease in DBI ≥ 0.5 in the intervention and control groups at follow-up. Secondary outcomes--anticholinergic and sedative side effects, falls, cognitive function, activities of daily living, quality of life, hospital admission, and mortality.

Ethics And Dissemination: The burden of patients will be kept at a minimum. The 3MR can be considered as usual care by the pharmacist and general practitioner. Medical specialists will be consulted, if necessary. The intervention is specifically aimed at older community-dwelling patients in an attempt to optimise prescribing, in particular, to reduce medication with anticholinergic and sedative properties. Study results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and will be distributed through information channels targeting professionals.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02317666; Pre-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691761PMC
December 2015
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