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.