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More than half of people with Alzheimer’s aged 90 years and over on psychotropic drugs

Psychotropic drugs are more commonly prescribed to people with Alzheimer’s disease aged 90 years or more, compared with those diagnosed at a younger age, say researchers from the University of Eastern Finland. 

Psychotropic drugs are more commonly prescribed to people with Alzheimer’s disease aged 90 years or more, compared with those diagnosed at a younger age, say researchers from the University of Eastern Finland.


More than half of people aged 90 years or more with Alzheimer’s
disease used psychotropic drugs, a study found. Picture: iStock

Psychotropic drugs include antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines, and their use is linked to a significant risk in adverse effects among older people. 

Researchers compared drug use from a nationwide register of more than 67,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland from 2005 to 2011 to a matched sample without the disease. 

Age links

They found that 56% of people aged 90 years or more with Alzheimer’s disease used psychotropic drugs, compared with 48% among those aged under 90 years with the condition.

The figure was 38% for those aged 90 years or more without Alzheimer’s disease. 

The researchers also found that people aged 90 years or more with Alzheimer’s disease used anti-dementia drugs less frequently (63%) than younger people with the same disease (72%). 


Taipale H et al (2016) Drug use in persons with and without Alzheimer’s disease aged 90 years or more. Age and Ageing. doi:10.1093/ageing/afw141

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