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Mortality in people with dementia taking antipsychotics higher than in those taking other psychiatric medications

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Dr Helen C Kales

Correspondence to: Dr Helen C Kales, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Box 5765, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; kales@umich.edu

QUESTION

Question:

Is there a difference in mortality rate in the year after starting a new antipsychotic for neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia and other psychiatric drugs?

Population:

10 615 older adults (over 65 years old) diagnosed with dementia in fiscal years 2002 or 2003 who started outpatient psychiatric medication within 6 months of being diagnosed with dementia. Exclusions: using psychiatric medication in 6 months prior to dementia diagnosis; receiving lithium; having a seizure disorder.

Setting:

National Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data registries, USA; fiscal years 2001–5.

Prognostic factors:

Type of psychiatric medication: antipsychotic (conventional, atypical, or both) or other. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders, including: age, gender, use of cholinesterase inhibitors, delirium diagnosis present at time of first prescription filling, date of starting psychiatric medication, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder diagnosis, days of hospitalisation in the …

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