Factors associated with antiepileptic drug use among elderly nursing home residents

Judith Garrard, James C Cloyd, Cynthia R Gross, Nancy Hardie, Lucy Thomas, Thomas Lackner, Nina Graves, Ilo E Leppik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Epilepsy, a chronic condition defined as two or more recurrent, unprovoked seizures, has the highest incidence at the end of life. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are the primary therapeutic mode. Approximately 10%-11% of elderly nursing home residents receive one or more AEDs, a higher prevalence than would be expected in this age group. In the research literature, there is not a clear explanation of variations in AED use in nursing homes. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and variations in use of AEDs by resident characteristics, AEDs used, drug dosage, and AED combinations in treatment regimens. Methods. This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study of residents (N = 21,551) in a convenience sample of nursing homes in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The unit of analysis was the individual resident. The study period was a single day in 1995. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to test differences. Results. The prevalence of AED use was 10.5% across all elderly residents. In a multivariate analysis, factors associated with AED treatment included seizure indication, age group, and geographic region. AED use by age group showed declining use as the residents aged, from 65-74 to 75-84 to ≥85 years. Conclusions. The inverse relationship between AED use and age group was unexpected because the incidence of epilepsy increases with advancing age. This finding raises important questions about the future use of these drugs in elderly nursing home residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M384-M392
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2000

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