Objectives: To establish the prevalence, incidence, persistence, risk factors, and mortality risk increase of psychosis of Alzheimer disease (PoAD) in a clinical sample.
Design, participants, and measurements: Cross-sectional, observational study of 491 patients with probable AD who, at baseline visit, were evaluated with the Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-10, the Rapid Disability Rating Scale-2, and the Zarit Burden Interview. All participants were reevaluated at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. PoAD diagnoses were made using specific criteria.
Results: PoAD prevalence was 7.3%, and the cumulative incidence at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months was 5.8%, 10.6%, 13.5%, and 15.1%, respectively. After 1 year, psychotic symptoms persisted in 68.7% of the patients with initial PoAD. At baseline, patients with PoAD scored lower in the Cambridge Cognitive Examination and Mini-Mental State Examination and higher in the Rapid Disability Rating Scale-2 and Zarit Burden Interview tests. Both low scores in the Cambridge Cognitive Examination subscale of learning memory (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.874; 95% CI: 0.788-0.969; Wald χ2 = 6.515; df = 1) and perception (HR = 0.743; 95% CI: 0.610-0.904; Wald χ2 = 8.778; df = 1), and high scores in expressive language (HR = 1.179; 95% CI: 1.024-1.358; Wald χ2 = 5.261; df = 1) and calculation skills (HR = 1.763; 95% CI: 1.067-2.913; Wald χ2 = 4.905; df = 1) were found to be associated with PoAD. PoAD leads to a faster functional impairment, and it increases mortality risk (HR = 2.191; 95% CI: 1.136-4.228; Wald χ2 = 5.471; df = 1) after controlling for age, gender, cognitive and functional disability, general health status, and antipsychotic treatment.
Conclusions: PoAD seems to define a phenotype of AD of greater severity, with worsened functional progression and increased mortality risk.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; cohort studies; delusions; hallucinations; mortality; psychotic disorders; risk factor.
Copyright © 2013 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.