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Research Interests

Drugs Related to Oropharyngeal Dysphagia in Older People

  • Marta Miaronoi et al
  • Dysphagia
  • 4th August 2016

Scientific evidence on the impact of medication on the physiology of swallowing is scarce and mainly based on clinical case reports. To evaluate the association between oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) and chronic exposure to medication in older patients admitted to the acute geriatric unit (AGU) of a secondary hospital, we performed a retrospective cross-sectional study of 966 patients admitted to an AGU from 2008 to 2011. We reviewed (a) diagnosis of OD (assessed with the volume-viscosity swallow test, V- VST); (b) chronic patient medication classified by anatomical, therapeutic, chemical codes; and (c) demographic and clinical data. A univariate analysis was performed to determine which medications were associated with OD. A multivariate analysis adjusting for confounding clinical factors was performed to identify which of those medications were independently associated with OD. The age of patients included was 85.3 ± 6.37 years and 59.4 % were women. A total of 41.9 % presented OD. We found a possible protective effect of beta blocking agents on OD after the multivariate analysis (OR 0.54, 95 % CI 0.35–0.85). None of the categories of drugs was associated with an altered swallowing function after adjusting for confounding variables. The present study is the first one to widely investigate the association between drugs and OD, increasing understanding of their association. The role of beta blockers in OD needs to be further studied as their potentially beneficial effects on the swallowing function in older patients could help to prevent complications.

Catherine Cawley