BACKGROUND: Studies focusing on patterns of psychotropic drug prescriptions (PDPs) for subpopulations of community-dwelling older people with dementia are lacking.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the longitudinal patterns of PDPs in subpopulations.
METHODS: This retrospective study used electronic health records from general practitioners (GPs) in the Netherlands. People (N = 1278) firstly diagnosed with dementia between 2013 and 2015, aged 65 years or older, were selected and categorized into four subpopulations: community-dwelling (CD) group throughout follow-up, ultimately admitted to nursing homes (NH) group, ultimately died (DIE) group, and ultimately deregistered for unclear reasons (DeR) group. Generalised estimating equations were used to estimate the patterns of psychotropic drug prescriptions, after the diagnosis of dementia for a five-year follow-up, and 0-3 months before institutionalisation or death.
RESULTS: Over the five-year follow-up, antipsychotic prescriptions increased steadily in CD (OR = 1.07 [1.04-1.10]), NH (OR = 1.10 [1.04-1.15]), and DIE (OR = 1.05 [1.02-1.08]) groups. Similarly, prescriptions of antidepressants also showed upward trends in CD (OR = 1.04 [1.02-1.06]), NH (OR = 1.10 [1.02-1.18]), and DIE (OR = 1.04 [1.00-1.08]) groups. The other psychotropic drugs did not show clear changes over time in most of the subpopulations. In the three months before institutionalisation, antipsychotic prescriptions increased (OR = 2.12 [1.26-3.57]) in the NH group compared to prior periods. Likewise, before death, prescriptions of antipsychotics (OR = 1.74 [1.28-2.38]) and hypnotics and sedatives (OR = 2.11 [1.54-2.90]) increased in the DIE group, while anti-dementia drug prescriptions decreased (OR = 0.42 [0.26-0.69]).
CONCLUSIONS: After community-dwelling older people are diagnosed with dementia, all subpopulations' prescriptions of antipsychotics and antidepressants increase continuously during the follow-up. While we cannot judge whether these prescriptions are appropriate, GPs might consider a more reluctant use of psychotropic drugs and use alternative psychosocial interventions. Additionally, antipsychotic prescriptions rise considerably shortly before institutionalisation or death, which might reflect that older people experience more neuropsychiatric symptoms during this period.
- Antipsychotic Agents/therapeutic use
- Retrospective Studies
- Independent Living
- Electronic Health Records
- Psychotropic Drugs/therapeutic use
- Antidepressive Agents/therapeutic use
- Hypnotics and Sedatives
- Drug Prescriptions