Sedative load among community-dwelling older individuals: Change over time and association with mortality

Heidi T. Taipale, J. Simon Bell, Sirpa Hartikainen

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The aim of this study was to investigate the change in sedative load over time and the corresponding risk of death among community-dwelling older individuals. A random sample of 1000 individuals aged at least 75 years was invited to participate in 2004, of whom 700 were community dwelling. Demographic, diagnostic, and drug use data were obtained during annual nurse interviews. Sedative load was calculated according to a previously published model. The prevalence of sedative use increased from 29.3 to 36.1% from 2004 to 2007. In unadjusted analyses, sedative load was associated with an increased risk of death. After adjusting for clinically important covariates, sedative load was not associated with an increased risk of death [sedative load 1-2; hazard ratio 1.12 (95% confidence interval 0.76-1.64), sedative load of at least 3; hazard ratio 0.92 (95% confidence interval 0.55-1.56)]. In conclusion, sedative use increased during the follow-up but was not associated with an increased risk of death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • drug utilization
  • hypnotics and sedatives
  • mortality

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