Effects of polypharmacy and anticholinergic/sedative drugs on the physical/cognitive/ mental related outcomes of community-dwelling elderly people: The kawasaki wellbeing project

Asahi Tanaka, Yasumichi Arai, Takumi Hirata, Yukiko Abe, Yuko Oguma, Hisashi Urushihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim: To assess the burdens of polypharmacy and the drug burden index in community-dwelling elder people. Methods: The survey was conducted on 396 participants who participated in The Kawasaki Wellbeing Project from March to December 2017. We investigated the associations between the drug burden and the physical/cognitive/mental outcomes. The drug burden was determined by calculating the number of medications and the drug burden index (DBI) based on the use of anticholinergic and sedative drugs. A multivariate regression analysis was conducted for the outcome measures ADL, IADL, MMSE, J-CHS, and EQ5D5L after adjusting for the sex, age, number of diseases, education level, smoking history, and alcohol history. Results: A total of 389 subjects were analyzed, the mean age of the population was 86 years old, and 187 people (48%) were male. Polypharmacy was reported in 243 people (62%), and DBI exposure was reported for 142 people (36.5%). We found that this population was physically healthy, with a median ADL of 100, and had high quality of life, with a median EQ5D5L of 0.895. Polypharmacy was found to be related to the J-CHS (β: 0.04) and EQ5D5L (-0.01). The DBI was also related to the EQ5D5L (-0.04). Conclusion: These results showed that even though this population was healthier than the general Japanese elderly population, the drug burden of polypharmacy and high dosages of anticholinergic/sedative drugs exerted significant negative effects on frailty and the quality of life. Additional research should be conducted to investigate the long-term effects of polypharmacy and anticholinergic/sedative drugs on elderly people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalJapanese Journal of Geriatrics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1



  • 56: 504―515)
  • Aged
  • Anticholinergic
  • Drug burden (Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi 2019
  • Polypharmacy
  • Sedative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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