Neuropsychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use in patients with dementia in general practices

Petra Borsje*, Peter L.B.J. Lucassen, Roland B. Wetzels, Anne Margriet Pot, Raymond T.C.M. Koopmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) frequently occur in community-dwelling patients with dementia and they are also frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs. The prescription of psychotropic drugs has been found to be associated with the level of NPS. Data on NPS in patients with dementia in general practices are scarce. Objectives. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence rates of NPS and psychotropic drug use (PDU) in patients with dementia in general practices. Methods. We analyzed data from the baseline measurement of a prospective cohort study in a sample of (Dutch) patients in general practices. Prevalence rates of NPS and subsyndromes assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and of PDU were calculated. Prevalence rates of individual NPS are presented both as clinically relevant symptoms (NPI symptom score = 4) and as prevalence rates of symptoms with symptom score > 0. Results. Of the 117 patients, more than 90% had at least one symptom and more than 65% had at least one clinically relevant symptom. The most common NPS were agitation/aggression, dysphoria/ depression and irritability/lability. The most common clinically relevant NPS were aberrant motor behaviour, agitation/aggression and apathy/indifference. Only 28.7% of the patients used at least one, 7.0% used at least two different and 1.7% used at least three different types of psychotropic drugs (excluding anti-dementia medication). Conclusions. NPS are highly prevalent in patients with dementia in general practices, but PDU is rather low. The most common clinically relevant NPS were aberrant motor behaviour, agitation/ aggression and apathy/indifference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Practice
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Mental health
  • Pharmacology / drug reactions
  • Primary care

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