Antipsychotic prescribing for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders in specialized settings from 2010 to 2014 in France: a repeated cross-sectional study

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2017 Apr 26;9(1):34. doi: 10.1186/s13195-017-0256-8.


Background: Safety warnings from health authorities are currently intended to limit the use of antipsychotics (APs) in dementia-related conditions to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as disturbing and/or delusional behaviors. The aim of this study is to investigate prevalence, correlates and trends of AP prescribing among people with dementia between 2010 and 2014 in the French population.

Methods: AP prescribing and associated factors among individuals with AD, mixed dementia and vascular dementia in the French National Alzheimer Database between 2010 and 2014 were analyzed using multivariate generalized estimating equations models (n = 199,549).

Results: In 2014, 7.7% of people with dementia were prescribed an AP. Compared with 2010 there was a 16% increase in AP use. Multivariate analysis showed a linear increase risk of prescription with an adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 1.23 (1.17-1.30) in 2014 compared with 2010. Factors associated with AP prescribing were male gender, more severe cognitive decline and living in long-term care facilities. Older age and higher education were protective toward AP prescribing. The type of dementia did not have any influence on AP prescribing.

Conclusion: An increase in AP prescribing among individuals with dementia in French specialized settings over the last 5 years occurred despite safety warnings. This phenomenon suggests that alternative solutions for the management of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in these populations are still urgently needed.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Antipsychotics; Dementia; Drug prescribing; French Alzheimer Database.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicine / trends
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends*
  • Prescription Drug Overuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Antipsychotic Agents