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Brain-Hazardous Medications and Potential Subadequate Antidepressant Dosing in Older Surgical Patients Receiving Home Antidepressants: An Observational Study of a Large US Health System.

BACKGROUND: Older surgical patients with depression often experience poor postoperative outcomes. Poor outcomes may stem from brain-hazardous medications and subadequate antidepressant dosing.

METHODS: This was a retrospective, observational cohort study covering the period between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. Patients ≥60 years of age who underwent inpatient surgery and had an overnight stay at an integrated academic health care system comprising 14 hospitals were eligible. We analyzed the prevalence of home central nervous system (CNS)-active potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) and potential subadequate antidepressant dosing in older surgical patients receiving home antidepressants. Univariable and multivariable regression models were used to identify factors associated with home CNS-active PIM prescribing and potential subadequate antidepressant dosing. Additionally, outcomes were compared among patients receiving and not receiving CNS-active PIMs and patients receiving and not receiving subadequate antidepressant dosing.

RESULTS: A total of 8031 patients were included in this study (47% female, mean age = 70 years) of whom 2087 (26%) were prescribed antidepressants. Roughly one-half (49%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 46.5-50.1) of patients receiving home antidepressants were also receiving ≥1 CNS-active PIM and 29% (95% CI, 27.0-29.3) were receiving a potential subadequate dose. Factors associated with an increased likelihood of receiving a home CNS-active PIM included female sex (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.46), anxiety (aOR, 2.43), asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (aOR, 1.39), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor use (aOR, 1.54). Patients aged ≥75 years (aOR, 1.57), black race (aOR, 1.48) and those with congestive heart failure (aOR, 1.33) were more likely to be prescribed a potential subadequate antidepressant dose. Patients receiving potential subadequate antidepressant doses were discharged home less often (64% vs 73%), had a longer hospital length of stay (9 days vs 7 days), and a higher mortality rate (18% vs 10%) compared to patients receiving adequate home antidepressant doses (P-value for all <0.01). No differences in these outcomes were found among patients receiving home antidepressants with or without CNS-active PIMs.

CONCLUSIONS: Older surgical patients receiving antidepressants are frequently prescribed brain-hazardous medications and potentially subadequate antidepressant doses. Those receiving subadequate antidepressant doses may be at risk for worse postoperative outcomes compared to patients receiving adequate doses. The role of preoperative medication optimization to improve outcomes for older surgical patients should be evaluated.

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