Although underdiagnosed, delirium is a common and potentially preventable problem in older patients, being associated with morbimortality. Drugs have been associated with the development of delirium in the geriatric population and may be considered the most easily reversible trigger. Polypharmacy, prescription of deliriogenic, anticholinergic and potentially inappropriate drugs are contributing factors for the occurrence of the disturb. Furthermore, changes in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters, which are intrinsic of the aged process, may contribute for cognitive impairment. Identification and reversal of clinical conditions associated with delirium are the first step to treat the disturbance, as well as mitigation of environmental factors and the exposition to deliriogenic drugs. Current evidence does not support the prescription of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines for the treatment of delirium. However, the judicious use of first- or second-generation antipsychotics can be considered in severe cases. Multi-component non-pharmacological, software-based intervention to identify medications that could contribute to delirium, predictive models, tools, training of health professionals and active actions of pharmacovigilance may contribute to the screening, prevention, and management of delirium in older people. Besides, it is also important to improve the report of drug-induced delirium in medical records, to develop properly risk management plans and avoid cascade iatrogenesis.
Part of the book: New Insights into the Future of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety