University of Western Australia: Volunteers with dementia needed for UWA study

Researchers from The University of Western Australia are seeking volunteers for a study to help general practitioners manage medications for patients who are living with dementia.

Study Co-ordinator at the WA Centre for Health and Ageing Jenny Tasker says this includes the possibility of reducing the number of medications a person takes, a practice known as ‘deprescribing’.

“People living with dementia often take many different medications, some of which can cause side effects,” Ms Tasker said.

“In earlier studies, researchers found some people with dementia continued to take medicines that may no longer benefit them or where the risks of side effects outweighed the benefits.

“This study is testing a way pharmacists and GPs can work together to safely reduce the number of medications being taken and whether this is helpful for people living with dementia.”

Researchers are looking for people living in the Perth community (WA postcodes 6000-6164) who have a diagnosis of dementia (any form) and take five or more medicines. This includes prescribed medicines as well as any over-the-counter and herbal/complimentary medicines.

Those who are eligible and decide to take part in the study will be involved in the study for one year.

“Participants will be contacted three or four times during the year, with each session lasting about 45-to-60 minutes and covering questions about their health and medicines,” Ms Tasker said.

“People taking part will continue to visit their GP and other health care providers as usual. The study is completely voluntary and participants can change their mind at any time and decide not to continue. All personal information will be treated as strictly confidential and there are no costs involved.”

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