Shahar Shmuel, PhD
Longitudinal Patterns of Anticholinergic and Sedative Drug Load
The older adult population is growing rapidly, and therefore, improved healthcare management in this population is key. Medication management in older adults is challenging, since aging alters the body’s immune response and capacity to metabolize drugs, leading to an increased sensitivity to intended and unintended drug effects (i.e., side effects). Furthermore, older adults often have multiple chronic health conditions and are prescribed multiple medications to address these health conditions. Taken together, these factors make older adults vulnerable to the use of potentially inappropriate medications, medications whose potential harms may outweigh their benefits, and to dangerous drug-drug interactions. This study was designed to describe individual patterns of use of medications with anticholinergic and sedating properties since use of these medications is associated with increased risk of serious physical (e.g., falls, fractures) and cognitive (e.g., delirium) health outcomes. By helping predict which patients will over time have a high burden of these medications, this work can guide deprescribing interventions for specific high-risk patient groups. The ultimate goal of this work is to promote safe and effective medication use that reduces risk of negative health outcomes and improves older adults’ quality of life.
I am very honored and grateful to be a recipient of the PhRMA Foundation’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Outcomes. This award has supported my growth as an early-career investigator by enabling me to pursue research that advances the field of geriatric pharmacoepidemiology, expand my training, and build exciting new research collaborations.