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Changes in the use of psychotropic drugs during the course of Alzheimer's disease: A large‐scale longitudinal study of French medical records

Abstract : Introduction: We aim to understand how patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are treated by identifying in a longitudinal fashion the late-life changes in patients' medical history that precede and follow AD diagnosis. Methods: We use prescription history of 34,782 patients followed between 1996 and 2019 by French general practitioners. We compare patients with an AD diagnosis, patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and patients free of mental disorders. We use a generalized mixed-effects model to study the longitudinal changes in the prescription of eight drug types for a period 15 years before diagnosis and 10 years after. Results: In the decades preceding diagnosis, we find that future AD patients are treated significantly more than MCI patients with most psychotropic drugs and that most studied drugs are increasingly prescribed with age. At the time of diagnosis, all psychotropic drugs except benzodiazepines show a significant increase in prescription, while other drugs are significantly less prescribed. In the 10 years after diagnosis, nearly all categories of drugs are less and less prescribed including antidementia drugs. Discussion: Pre-diagnosis differences between future AD patients and MCI patients may indicate that subtle cognitive changes are recognized and treated as psychiatric symptoms. The disclosure of AD diagnosis drastically changes patients' care, priority being given to the management of psychiatric symptoms. The decrease of all prescriptions in the late stages may reflect treatment discontinuation and simplification of therapeutic procedures. This study therefore provides new insights into the medical practices for management of AD.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 10:15:50 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 3:30:45 AM

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Manon Ansart, Stéphane Epelbaum, Marion Houot, Thomas Nedelec, Béranger Lekens, et al.. Changes in the use of psychotropic drugs during the course of Alzheimer's disease: A large‐scale longitudinal study of French medical records. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, Elsevier, 2021, 7 (1), pp.e12210. ⟨10.1002/trc2.12210⟩. ⟨hal-03351244⟩

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