Background: Antipsychotics (APs) are usually prescribed to deal with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), but poor outcomes, important side effects, and high mortality risk should be addressed. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of AP consumption in patients with dementia, and to describe and compare the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of patients consuming APs.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using 1,894 cases of dementia registered from 2007 to 2009 by the Registry of Dementias of Girona (ReDeGi), which is a population-based passive surveillance system of dementia diagnoses. APs were categorized according to the anatomical therapeutic chemical (ATC) classification, and grouped as typical antipsychotics (TAPs) or atypical antipsychotics (AAPs). Binary logistic regression analyses were used to detect the predictors of AP use as well as the variables associated with TAP or AAP prescription.
Results: APs were used in 29.6% of the cases, with Parkinsonian syndromes (PSd) being the subtype of dementia with the highest AP prescription (50.6% of the patients with PSd). AAPs were mainly prescribed in all subtypes of dementia, except in vascular dementia (VaD) and PSd, where no preference in TAP or AAP use was found. Psychotic antecedents, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) diagnoses, cognitive impairment, and BPSD were AP use predictors. AAP use was related to higher severity of dementia.
Conclusions: Despite their disputed benefit–risk ratios, APs are extensively used, off-label, to treat BPSD, and AAPs are more commonly prescribed than TAPs. AP consumption was frequent in DLB, and was related to dementia severity indicators.