Risk for Health Events After Deprescribing Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors in Nursing Home Residents With Severe Dementia


Reevaluation of the appropriateness of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) is recommended in older adults with severe dementia, given the lack of strong evidence to support their continued effectiveness and risk for medication‐induced adverse events. We sought to evaluate the impact of deprescribing AChEIs on risk of all‐cause events (hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality) and serious falls or fractures in older nursing home (NH) residents with severe dementia.


Analysis of 2015 to 2016 data from Medicare claims, Part D prescriptions, Minimum Data

Set (MDS) version 3.0, Area Health Resource File, and Nursing Home Compare. Marginal structural models with inverse probability of treatment weights were used to evaluate the association of deprescribing AChEIs and all‐cause negative events as well as serious falls or fractures.


US Medicare‐certified NHs.


Nonskilled NH residents, aged 65 years and older, with severe dementia receiving AChEIs within the first 14 days of an MDS assessment in 2016 (n = 37 106).


The sample was primarily white (78.7%), female (75.5%), and aged 80 years or older (77.4%). Deprescribing AChEIs was associated with an increased likelihood of all‐cause negative events in unadjusted models (odds ratio [OR] = 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11‐1.23; P < .01), but not in fully adjusted models (adjusted OR [aOR] = 1.00; 95% CI = 0.94‐1.06; P = .94). By contrast, deprescribing was associated with a reduced likelihood of serious falls or fractures in unadjusted models (OR = 0.59; 95% CI = 0.52‐0.66; P < .001) and remained significant in adjusted models (aOR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.56‐0.73; P < .001).


Deprescribing AChEIs was not associated with a significant increase in the likelihood for all‐cause negative events and was associated with a reduced likelihood of falls and fractures in older NH residents with dementia. Our findings suggest that deprescribing AChEIs is a reasonable approach to reduce the risk of serious falls or fractures without increasing the risk for all‐cause events.


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