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Medications Causing Confusion in Patients

Kenneth L. Miller, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA

December 2, 2015

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Question

Can certain medication be the cause of confusion in patients?  

Answer

Yes.  Antidepressants cause confusion.  Opioid analgesics cause confusion.  Drugs with anticholinergic effects also cause confusion. Think about whether or not you look at their medications to see if they are the reason for that confusion or do you make the assumption that they have dementia?  If we make the assumption that it is dementia, there is an opportunity lost.  If it is something related to a medication and medications were just changed, they could function better. Would that not help us with our outcomes getting the patient stronger and to a better place?  We need to start looking at the medications and their side effects, and see if they are possibly having confusion side effects.  This may be the problem the patient is having all along.  


kenneth l miller

Kenneth L. Miller, PT, DPT, GCS, CEEAA

Dr. Kenneth L. Miller is a board-certified geriatric clinical specialist, advanced credentialed exercise expert for aging adults, and credentialed clinical instructor from the APTA. He has over 26 years of clinical experience with the older adult population.  Dr. Miller is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Science Center with dual appointments in the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions and in the Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

His clinical focus is on best practices for use with the older adult population.  He has spoken nationally and internationally on topics of gerontology including primary prevention, fragility, outcome measures, and pharmacology. 

He serves on editorial boards related to geriatric care and physical therapy education including Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation where he was guest editor for a thematic issue dedicated to pharmacology and nutrition.  He also serves the physical therapy profession as director of practice for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy and on several Academy Task Forces.  Most recently, he has helped to develop the best practice guidelines for the Academy that describe best practices for the care of older adults.  Dr. Miller is also a co-editor of the Ciccone's Pharmacology in Rehabilitation 5th edition textbook update.  

 


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PTs can apply evidence-based interventions to improve dementia care. This session reviews the etiology of common behaviors. Cognitive-emotion, multi-sensory, animal-assisted, and exercise interventions to reduce agitation are discussed as well as specific strategies for improving task-related engagement. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT and PTA.

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