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Time Trends in Antipsychotic Drug Use in Patients with Dementia: A Nationwide Study

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  • Ane Nørgaard, Københavns Universitet
  • ,
  • Christina Jensen-Dahm, Københavns Universitet, Danmark
  • Christiane Gasse
  • Hanne Vibe Hansen, Københavns Universitet, Danmark
  • Gunhild Waldemar, Københavns Universitet, Danmark

BACKGROUND: Antipsychotics are often used to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia, but the evidence for effect is limited. Antipsychotics have been associated with increased risk of adverse events and mortality in patients with dementia, leading to safety regulations worldwide.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate time trends in use of antipsychotics and other psychotropic drugs in dementia care.

METHODS: The study included longitudinal data on all Danish residents ≥65 years. The study population was defined on January 1 of each year from 2000-2012. Data included prescriptions, discharge diagnoses, and somatic and psychiatric comorbidities. Multivariate time trend analyses of psychotropic drug use in patients with dementia within 4-year age bands were performed.

RESULTS: Overall, among patients with dementia the prevalence of antipsychotic drug use decreased from 31.3% in 2000 to 20.4% in 2012. The decreasing use of antipsychotics was accompanied by decreasing use of anxiolytics and hypnotics/sedatives, but an increase in the use of antidepressants from 43.3% in 2000 to 53.8% in 2012. These changes were significant across almost all age groups. Treatment intensity among patients using antipsychotics increased as the annual median number of defined daily doses (DDD) increased from 33.3 to 42.0 DDD.

CONCLUSIONS: The changing patterns of psychotropic drug use may be caused by warnings against use of antipsychotics. Further research is needed to explore the implications for patient safety.

TidsskriftJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Sider (fra-til)211-220
StatusUdgivet - 24 sep. 2015

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