December 14, 2018: New Alzheimer Trial to Be Planned Using the NIH Collaboratory Distributed Research Network

A new pragmatic trial planning grant supported by the National Institute on Aging will use the NIH Collaboratory’s Distributed Research Network (DRN) to characterize eligible patients and develop an intervention that tests the value of engaging health plan members and their caregivers, in addition to prescribers, to reduce potentially harmful medication use in patients with Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD).

Patients with Alzheimer disease are at high risk for “prescribing cascades,” in which patients receive multiple, potentially unnecessary drug prescriptions to address side effects of their other medications. The Controlling and Stopping Cascades Leading to Adverse Drug Effects Study in Alzheimer’s Disease (CASCADES-AD) will be an embedded pragmatic clinical trial in 2 large healthcare systems. It would be the first evaluation of a large-scale, health plan–based educational intervention to improve medication safety and reduce the occurrence of preventable medication-related complications among patients with ADRD.

The study will characterize more than 22,500 patients with ADRD who will be identified through the DRN’s distributed data resources. The NIH Collaboratory DRN enables researchers to send queries to data partners and receive aggregate data without confidential information. Through its multiple data partners, the DRN has access to data for more than 90 million lives.

View an NIH Collaboratory Grand Rounds presentation about the status of the DRN, and learn more about the DRN in the Living Textbook.