Infections are common in people with dementia, and antibiotic use is widespread although highly variable across healthcare settings and countries. The few studies conducted to date which consider the appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing specifically for people with dementia focus on people with advanced dementia and suggest that much of the prescribing of antibiotics for these patients may be potentially inappropriate. We suggest that clinicians must consider a number of factors to determine appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing for people with dementia, including the risks and benefits of assessing and treating infections, the uncertainty regarding the effects of antibiotics on patient comfort, goals of care and treatment preferences, hydration status, dementia severity, and patient prognosis. Future research should examine antibiotic prescribing and its appropriateness across the spectrum of common infections, dementia severities, care settings and countries, and should consider how antibiotic therapy should be considered in discussions regarding treatment preferences, goals of care and/or advance care planning, between clinicians, patients and families.
Parsons, C., & van der Steen, J. T. (2017). Antimicrobial Use in Patients with Dementia: Current Concerns and Future Recommendations. CNS Drugs, 31(6), 433-438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-017-0427-y