Background/aims: The aim of this study was to determine the consistency of neuropsychiatric subsyndromes of the Neuropsychiatric Inventory across several clinical and demographic subgroups (e.g. dementia subtypes, dementia severity, medication use, age and gender) in a large sample of outpatients with dementia.
Methods: Cross-sectional data of 2,808 patients with dementia from 12 centres from the European Alzheimer's Disease Consortium were collected. Principal component analysis was used for factor analysis. Subanalyses were performed for dementia subtypes, dementia severity, medication use, age and gender.
Results: The results showed the relatively consistent presence of the 4 neuropsychiatric subsyndromes 'hyperactivity', 'psychosis', 'affective symptoms' and 'apathy' across the subanalyses. The factor structure was not dependent on dementia subtypes, age and gender but was dependent on dementia severity and cholinesterase use. The factors hyperactivity and affective symptoms were present in all subanalyses, but the presence of the factors apathy and psychosis was dependent on use of cholinesterase inhibitors and dementia severity, respectively.
Conclusion: The present study provided evidence of the relative consistency of neuropsychiatric subsyndromes across dementia subtypes, age and gender, thereby stressing the importance of thinking about neuropsychiatric subsyndromes instead of separate symptoms. However, the subsyndromes apathy and psychosis were dependent on use of cholinesterase inhibitors and dementia severity.
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