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Sedative load among community-dwelling older individuals: change over time and association with mortality

Taipale, Heidi T.a,b; Bell, J. Simona,b,c; Hartikainen, Sirpaa,b

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: July 2012 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - p 224–230
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e328354b50d
Original Articles

The aim of this study was to investigate the change in sedative load over time and the corresponding risk of death among community-dwelling older individuals. A random sample of 1000 individuals aged at least 75 years was invited to participate in 2004, of whom 700 were community dwelling. Demographic, diagnostic, and drug use data were obtained during annual nurse interviews. Sedative load was calculated according to a previously published model. The prevalence of sedative use increased from 29.3 to 36.1% from 2004 to 2007. In unadjusted analyses, sedative load was associated with an increased risk of death. After adjusting for clinically important covariates, sedative load was not associated with an increased risk of death [sedative load 1–2; hazard ratio 1.12 (95% confidence interval 0.76–1.64), sedative load of at least 3; hazard ratio 0.92 (95% confidence interval 0.55–1.56)]. In conclusion, sedative use increased during the follow-up but was not associated with an increased risk of death.

aKuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care

bClinical Pharmacology and Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Unit, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland

cQuality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre, Sansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Correspondence to Heidi Taipale, MSc(Pharm), Researcher, Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care, University Of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland Tel: +358 443 361 265; fax: +358 171 62424; e-mail:

Received January 23, 2012

Accepted April 11, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.