Global prevalence of polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication in older patients with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Background: Older patients with dementia always need multiple drugs due to comorbidities and cognitive impairment, further complicating drug treatment and increasing the risk of potentially inappropriate medication. The objective of our study is to estimate the global prevalence of polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) and explore the factors of PIM for older patients with dementia. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase (Ovid), and Web of Science databases to identify eligible studies from inception to 16 June 2023. We conducted a meta-analysis for observational studies reporting the prevalence of potentially inappropriate medication and polypharmacy in older patients with dementia using a random-effect model. The factors associated with PIM were meta-analyzed. Results: Overall, 62 eligible studies were included, of which 53 studies reported the prevalence of PIM and 28 studies reported the prevalence of polypharmacy. The pooled estimate of PIM and polypharmacy was 43% (95% CI 38–48) and 62% (95% CI 52–71), respectively. Sixteen studies referred to factors associated with PIM use, and 15 factors were further pooled. Polypharmacy (2.83, 95% CI 1.80–4.44), diabetes (1.31, 95% CI 1.04–1.65), heart failure (1.17, 95% CI 1.00–1.37), depression (1.45, 95% CI 1.14–1.88), history of cancer (1.20, 95% CI 1.09–1.32), hypertension (1.46, 95% CI 1.05–2.03), ischemic heart disease (1.55, 95% CI 0.77–3.12), any cardiovascular disease (1.11, 95% CI 1.06–1.17), vascular dementia (1.09, 95% CI 1.03–1.16), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (1.39, 95% CI 1.13–1.72), and psychosis (1.91, 95% CI 1.04–3.53) are positively associated with PIM use. Conclusion: PIM and polypharmacy were highly prevalent in older patients with dementia. Among different regions, the pooled estimate of PIM use and polypharmacy varied widely. Increasing PIM in older patients with dementia was closely associated with polypharmacy. For other comorbidities such as heart failure and diabetes, prescribing should be cautioned.