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Young-onset dementia (YOD) is defined as dementia that develops before the age of 65 years. The prevalence and type of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in YOD differ from patients with late onset dementia. NPS in dementia patients are often treated with psychotropic drugs. The aim of this study was to investigate psychotropic drug use (PDU) in Dutch community-dwelling YOD patients and the association between age, gender, dementia etiology and severity, symptoms of depression, disease awareness, unmet needs, and type of NPS.
Psychotropic drug use in 196 YOD patients was registered. Drugs were categorized according to the Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical classification. The association between age, gender, dementia type, dementia stage, type of NPS, depressive symptoms, disease awareness, and amount of unmet needs on total PDU was analyzed using binomial logistic regression analysis.
Fifty-two percent of the patients were prescribed at least one psychotropic drug; 36.2% of patients used one drug, and 12.2% used two different drugs. Antidepressants (36.2%) and antipsychotic drugs (17.3%) were the most frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs. Anti-dementia drugs were prescribed in 51.5% of the patients. Increasing age and moderate to severe depressive symptoms were positively associated with the total use of psychotropic drugs.
Community-dwelling YOD patients have a high prevalence of PDU. More research is needed to study the association between unmet needs, NPS, and PDU, and psychosocial interventions have to be developed to limit the use of psychotropic drugs in YOD.
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