Purpose: Data concerning the number of diagnoses and of the drugs prescribed to patients affected by dementia are still scarce. Here we test whether or not (1) prescription of symptomatic drugs against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may approximate the number of patients affected by dementia in Italy and (2) adherence to this treatment affects the pattern of prescription of drugs (i.e. antipsychotics and antidepressants) for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and the previously reported limited prescription of analgesics. Methods: This retrospective observational study concerns 84,235 subjects older than 60 years and registered in the provincial prescription database of the health district of Cosenza accounting for a population of 298,000 inhabitants. The prescribing pattern of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and analgesics has been investigated in patients receiving concurrent prescriptions of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEI) and/or memantine. Data from a single centre for cognitive disturbances and dementia (CDCD) in the same health district were used to explore at which stage dementia was diagnosed. The study was approved by Calabria Region Ethical Committee no. 31/2017 and registered on October 31, 2017. Results: The data show that 859 patients are treated with AChEI and/or memantine; 420 patients (48.89%) receive at least 80% of the recommended medications. CDCD data indicate a delay in dementia diagnosis, which often was made when the patients were moderately to severely demented (Mini Mental State Examination, MMSE ≤ 20). Adherence did not influence prescription of most of the drugs explored, but use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was higher in non-adherent patients. Antipsychotics and antidepressants are frequently used (20.61–20.71% and 42.37–51.43%, respectively), and this, at least in part, might stem from the observed under-treatment of chronic pain (opioids are prescribed in the 4.76% and 12.46% of adherent and non-adherent patients and gabapentin and pregabalin are used in the 4.29% and 4.07% of adherent and non-adherent patients respectively), resulting in more frequent BPSD. 16.43% of patients receive antipsychotics for longer than 6–12 weeks. Conclusion: This 2-year period study, including a wide cohort of community demented patients, shows that dementia is diagnosed late and that prevalence of BPSD prescriptions is high and not impacted by adherence to anti-dementia drugs. The rate of prescription of potentially harmful antipsychotics and antidepressants appears to be high though whether the concomitantly observed limited prescription of analgesics might be a contributing factor needs to be further investigated. Our data support the development of strategies to improve the management of BPSD.

Pattern of treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and pain: evidence on pharmacoutilization from a large real-world sample and from a center for cognitive disturbances and dementia

Damiana Scuteri;Luigi Antonio Morrone;Giacinto Bagetta
;
2021

Abstract

Purpose: Data concerning the number of diagnoses and of the drugs prescribed to patients affected by dementia are still scarce. Here we test whether or not (1) prescription of symptomatic drugs against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may approximate the number of patients affected by dementia in Italy and (2) adherence to this treatment affects the pattern of prescription of drugs (i.e. antipsychotics and antidepressants) for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and the previously reported limited prescription of analgesics. Methods: This retrospective observational study concerns 84,235 subjects older than 60 years and registered in the provincial prescription database of the health district of Cosenza accounting for a population of 298,000 inhabitants. The prescribing pattern of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and analgesics has been investigated in patients receiving concurrent prescriptions of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEI) and/or memantine. Data from a single centre for cognitive disturbances and dementia (CDCD) in the same health district were used to explore at which stage dementia was diagnosed. The study was approved by Calabria Region Ethical Committee no. 31/2017 and registered on October 31, 2017. Results: The data show that 859 patients are treated with AChEI and/or memantine; 420 patients (48.89%) receive at least 80% of the recommended medications. CDCD data indicate a delay in dementia diagnosis, which often was made when the patients were moderately to severely demented (Mini Mental State Examination, MMSE ≤ 20). Adherence did not influence prescription of most of the drugs explored, but use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs was higher in non-adherent patients. Antipsychotics and antidepressants are frequently used (20.61–20.71% and 42.37–51.43%, respectively), and this, at least in part, might stem from the observed under-treatment of chronic pain (opioids are prescribed in the 4.76% and 12.46% of adherent and non-adherent patients and gabapentin and pregabalin are used in the 4.29% and 4.07% of adherent and non-adherent patients respectively), resulting in more frequent BPSD. 16.43% of patients receive antipsychotics for longer than 6–12 weeks. Conclusion: This 2-year period study, including a wide cohort of community demented patients, shows that dementia is diagnosed late and that prevalence of BPSD prescriptions is high and not impacted by adherence to anti-dementia drugs. The rate of prescription of potentially harmful antipsychotics and antidepressants appears to be high though whether the concomitantly observed limited prescription of analgesics might be a contributing factor needs to be further investigated. Our data support the development of strategies to improve the management of BPSD.
Alzheimer’s disease, BPSD, pain, antipsychotics, antidepressants, analgesics.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/307214
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