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Sedative Prescriptions Among Older Adults After Critical Illness

A study finds new use of sedatives in 1 of 15 older adults within 7 days of discharge and filling of persistent sedative prescriptions for one-half of these patients. “New prescriptions at discharge varied widely across hospitals and represent the potential value of modifying prescription practices, including medication review and reconciliation,” the authors conclude.

The population-based cohort study included ICU survivors aged 66 years or older in Ontario who had no prescriptions for sedatives within 6 months of hospitalization. The researchers identified factors associated with new use of sedatives, variation among hospitals, and factors associated with persistent prescriptions.

“A total of 250,428 patients were included (mean age, 76 years; 61% male),” the authors write. “A total of 15,277 (6.1%) filled a new sedative prescription, with variation noted across hospitals (2% [95% CI, 1-3] to 44% [95% CI, 3-57]); 8,458 (3.4%) filled persistent sedative prescriptions. Adjusted factors associated with a new sedative included: discharge to long-term care facility (adjusted OR [aOR], 4.00; 95% CI, 3.72-4.31), receipt of inpatient geriatric (aOR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.80-2.10) or psychiatry (aOR, 2.76; 95% CI, 2.62-2.91) consultation, invasive ventilation (aOR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.53-1.66), and ICU length of stay ≥ 7 days (aOR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.42-1.58). The residual heterogeneity between hospitals (adjusted median OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.35-1.49) had a stronger association with new sedative prescriptions than the Charlson Comorbidity Index score or sepsis. Factors associated with persistent sedative use were similar with the addition of female subjects (subdistribution hazard ratio, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.02-1.13) and pre-existing polypharmacy (subdistribution hazard ratio, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.80-0.93).”

Source: Chest