Evolution of the Antidepressant Prescribing in Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Between 2010 and 2014: Results from the French National Database on Alzheimer's Disease (BNA)

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Jul 2;53(4):1365-73. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160238.


Background: Safety warnings from health authorities are currently intended to limit the use of psychotropic agents in dementia-related conditions. Evidence concerning the use of antidepressants in dementia is, however, scarce and contradictory.

Objective: To evaluate antidepressant use among individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related disorders in the French population between 2010 and 2014.

Method: Antidepressant prescriptions in individuals with AD, mixed dementia (MD), and vascular dementia (VaD) in the French National Alzheimer Database between 2010 and 2014 were analyzed (N = 199,544).

Results: Multivariate analysis showed an annual significant increase (p < 0.001) in the prescription rate of antidepressants from 26% (2010) to 31% (2014), and identified female gender, younger age, higher education, living in long-term facilities, more severe cognitive decline, and presence of vascular signs (VaD and MD) as associated factors for antidepressant prescribing.

Conclusion: The annual increase of antidepressant prescribing among individuals with AD, MD, and VaD in French specialized settings may be partially related to the lack of current valuable medications for dementia-related behavioral symptoms.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; antidepressant; dementia; psychotropic medication.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Prevalence
  • Residential Facilities
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors


  • Antidepressive Agents