From the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm; the Department of Forensic Psychiatry, University of Eastern Finland, and Niuvanniemi Hospital, Kuopio; the Impact Assessment Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki; and the School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio.
It is generally believed that after the first episode of schizophrenia, the risk of relapse decreases with time in patients who are stabilized. Many treatment guidelines recommend that after stabilization, antipsychotic treatment should be continued for 1-5 years, and longer exposure should be avoided if possible. However, there is no published evidence to substantiate this view. The authors used nationwide databases to investigate this issue.
Prospectively gathered nationwide register data were used to study the risk of treatment failure (psychiatric rehospitalization or death) after discontinuation of antipsychotic treatment. Multivariate Cox regression was used to assess outcomes among all patients hospitalized for the first time with a schizophrenia diagnosis in Finland during the period of 1996-2014 (N=8,719).
The lowest risk of rehospitalization or death was observed for patients who received antipsychotic treatment continuously (adjusted hazard ratio=1.00), followed by patients who discontinued antipsychotic use immediately after discharge from the first hospital treatment (hazard ratio=1.63, 95% CI=1.52-1.75), within 1 year (hazard ratio=1.88, 95% CI=1.57-2.24), within 1-2 years (hazard ratio=2.12, 95% CI=1.43-3.14), within 2-5 years (hazard ratio=3.26, 95% CI=2.07-5.13), and after 5 years (a median of 7.9 years) (hazard ratio=7.28, 95% CI=2.78-19.05). Risk of death was 174%-214% higher among nonusers and patients with early discontinuation of antipsychotics compared with patients who received antipsychotic treatment continuously for up to 16.4 years.
Whatever the underlying mechanisms, these results provide evidence that, contrary to general belief, the risk of treatment failure or relapse after discontinuation of antipsychotic use does not decrease as a function of time during the first 8 years of illness, and that long-term antipsychotic treatment is associated with increased survival.
CommentIn: Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 1;175(8):712-713 PMID 30064241
CommentIn: Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 1;175(9):908-909 PMID 30173547
CommentIn: Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 1;175(9):909 PMID 30173555
CommentIn: Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 1;175(12):1266-1267 PMID 30501413
CommentIn: Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 1;175(12):1267 PMID 30501421
The aim was to study whether the anticholinergic burden of drugs is related to xerostomia and salivary secretion among community-dwelling elderly people.
Anticholinergic drugs have been shown to be a risk factor for dry mouth, but little is known about the effects of cumulative exposure to anticholinergic drugs measured by anticholinergic burden on salivary secretion or xerostomia.
The study population consisted of 152 community-dwelling, dentate, non-smoking, older people from the Oral Health GeMS study. The data were collected by interviews and clinical examinations. Anticholinergic burden was determined using the Anticholinergic Drug Scale (ADS). A Poisson regression model with robust error variance was used to estimate relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI 95%).
Participants with a high-anticholinergic burden (ADS = 3) were more likely to have xerostomia (RR: 3.17; CI: 1.44-6.96), low-unstimulated salivary flow (
The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) and memantine use, duration of treatment, concomitant use of these drugs, and factors associated with the discontinuation of AChEI therapy during 2006-2009. We utilized data from a nationwide sample of community-dwelling individuals with a clinically verified Alzheimer's disease diagnosed during the year 2005 (n=6858) as a part of the MEDALZ-2005 study. During the 4-year follow-up, 84% used AChEI and 47% used memantine. Altogether, 22% of the sample used both drugs concomitantly. The median duration of the first AChEI use period was 860 (interquartile range 295-1458) days and 1103 (interquartile range 489-1487) days for the total duration of AChEI use. Although 20% of the AChEI users discontinued the use during the first year, over half of them restarted later. The risk of discontinuation was higher for rivastigmine [hazard ratio 1.34 (confidence interval 1.22-1.48)] and galantamine users [hazard ratio 1.23 (confidence interval 1.15-1.37)] compared with donepezil users in the adjusted model. In conclusion, median time for AChEI use was over 3 years and every fifth Alzheimer's disease patient used AChEI and memantine concomitantly during the follow-up. The low rate of discontinuation is consistent with the Finnish Care Guideline but in contrast to the results reported from many other countries.
To study whether antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture among community-dwelling persons with and without Alzheimer's disease (AD), and to compare the risk according to duration of use and between antidepressant groups.
Retrospective cohort study, including 50,491 persons with AD (mean age 80) and 100,982 comparison persons without AD from Finnish register-based MEDALZ cohort. Antidepressant use was compared with nonuse with Cox proportional hazard models. Incident users were identified with a one year washout period from Prescription register data. Main outcome was hospitalization due to hip fracture.
During antidepressant use, the age-adjusted rate of hip fractures per 100 person-years was 3.01 (95% CI 2.75-3.34) among persons with and 2.28 (1.94-2.61) among persons without AD. Antidepressant use was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture among persons with and without AD (adjusted HR 1.61, 95% CI 1.45-1.80 and 2.71, 2.35-3.14, respectively) compared with nonuse. The risk was most prominent in the beginning of use and was elevated even up to 4 years. The risk was increased with all of the most frequently used antidepressants.
Use of antipsychotics for treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia is frequent among persons with Alzheimer disease (AD). Doses used in long-term therapy have not been previously reported. We describe antipsychotic doses used among community-dwelling persons with AD and investigate factors associated with high-dose use. The MEDALZ-2005 (Medication use and Alzheimer disease) cohort is a nationwide sample including all persons with clinically diagnosed AD at the end of year 2005 in Finland (n = 28,093). Data including prescriptions, comorbidities, and hospital discharge diagnoses were collected from nationwide registers. Antipsychotic doses in monotherapy were investigated during 2006 to 2009. Among 8920 antipsychotic users, 4% (n = 336) used antipsychotics with high dose. Typical antipsychotics were more often used with high dose than atypical antipsychotics. High-dose use was associated with younger age (
Antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) is not recommended in treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). There is lack of studies concerning prevalence of APP among persons with dementia.
The objective of our study was to describe prevalence and risk factors associated with antipsychotic polypharmacy among antipsychotic users with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Data from nationwide MEDALZ-2005 cohort including all community-dwelling persons diagnosed with AD in Finland was utilized. Register-based data included prescriptions, comorbidities, and hospital discharge diagnoses. Users of antipsychotics during 2006-2009 were included (n = 9,803). The risk of starting antipsychotic polypharmacy was evaluated with Cox proportional hazards model.
Prevalence of antipsychotic polypharmacy was 8% (n = 750) among antipsychotic users (n = 9,803). Quetiapine and risperidone was the most common combination of two antipsychotics followed by combination of quetiapine and haloperidol. Antipsychotic polypharmacy was associated with younger age (HR 1.35 [Confidence Interval, CI, 1.16-1.56]), male gender (HR 1.18 [CI 1.02-1.38]), and history of psychiatric disorder (HR 1.50 [CI 1.26-1.78]) in the adjusted model.
In conclusion, we found higher prevalence of APP than previously reported among older populations. This is concerning since effectiveness of APP has not been demonstrated and APP is not recommended in the treatment of BPSD. Clinicians should pay more attention to avoid APP and use of antipsychotics to other indications than BPSD among persons with AD.
The use of antipsychotic agents has been associated with increased pneumonia risk, but although people with dementia are particularly susceptible to pneumonia, only one small study has assessed the risk of pneumonia in relation to the use of antipsychotic agents among people with Alzheimer disease (AD).
We investigated whether the incident use of antipsychotic agents, or specific antipsychotic agents, are related to a higher risk of hospitalization or death due to pneumonia in the Medication and Alzheimer Disease (MEDALZ) cohort. The cohort includes all individuals with AD who received a clinically verified AD diagnosis in Finland in 2005 to 2011 (N = 60,584; incident pneumonia, n = 12,225). A matched comparison cohort without AD (N = 60,584; incident pneumonia, n = 6,195) was used to compare the magnitude of risk. Results were adjusted for a propensity score derived from comorbidities, concomitant medications, and sociodemographic characteristics. Sensitivity analyses with case-crossover design were conducted.
The use of antipsychotic agents was associated with a higher risk of pneumonia (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.01; 95% CI, 1.90-2.13) in the AD cohort and a somewhat higher risk in the non-AD cohort (adjusted HR, 3.43; 95% CI, 2.99-3.93). Similar results were observed with case-crossover analyses (OR, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.75-2.34 in the AD cohort and OR, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.77-3.79 in the non-AD cohort). The three most commonly used antipsychotic agents (quetiapine, risperidone, haloperidol) had similar associations with pneumonia risk.
Regardless of applied study design, treatment duration, or the choice of drug, the use of antipsychotic agents was associated with a higher risk of pneumonia. With observational data, we cannot fully rule out a shared causality between pneumonia and the use of antipsychotic agents, but the risk to benefit balance should be considered when antipsychotic agents are prescribed.
The epidemiological aim was to draw a general picture of spatial patterns of diseases, socio-demographics, and land use in Finland to detect possible under-recognized associations between the patterns. The methodological purpose was to compare and combine two statistical techniques to approach the data from different viewpoints.
Two different statistical methods, the self-organizing map and principal coordinates of neighbor matrices with variation partitioning, were used to search for spatial patterns of 15 non-infectious diseases and 17 direct or indirect risk factors. The dataset was gathered from five Finnish registries and pooled over the years 1991-2010. The statistical unit in the analyses was a municipality (n=303).
Variables referring to urban living were related to low incidences of all other diseases but cancer, whereas variables referring to rural living were related to low incidences of cancer and high incidences of other diseases, especially coronary heart disease (CHD), hypertension, diabetes, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and serious mental illnesses at the municipal level. The relationships between diseases other than cancer and risk factors related to socio-demographics and land use variables were stronger than those between cancer and risk factors.
The structuration of spatial patterns was dominated by CHD together with land use features and unemployment rate. The relationship between unemployment and spatial health inequalities was emphasized. On the basis of the present study, it is suggested that large heterogeneous datasets are clustered and analyzed simultaneously with more than one statistical method to recognize the most significant and generalizable results.
The aim of the Medicine use and Alzheimer's disease (MEDALZ) study is to investigate the changes in medication and healthcare service use among persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medications in this group. This is important, because the number of persons with AD is rapidly growing and even though they are a particularly vulnerable patient group, the number of representative, large-scale studies with adequate follow-up time is limited.
MEDALZ contains all residents of Finland who received a clinically verified diagnosis of AD between 2005 and 2011 and were community-dwelling at the time of diagnosis (N=70 719). The diagnosis is based on the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association (NINCS-ADRDA) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for Alzheimer's disease. The cohort contains socioeconomic data (education, occupational status and taxable income, 1972-2012) and causes of death (2005-2012), data from the prescription register (1995-2012), the special reimbursement register (1972-2012) and the hospital discharge register (1972-2012). Future updates are planned.The average age was 80.1 years (range 34.5-104.6 years). The majority of cohort (65.2%) was women. Currently, the average length of follow-up after AD diagnosis is 3.1 years and altogether 26 045 (36.8%) persons have died during the follow-up.
Altogether 53% of the cohort had used psychotropic drugs within 1 year after AD diagnoses. The initiation rate of for example, benzodiazepines and related drugs and antidepressants began to increase already before AD diagnosis.
We are currently assessing if these, and other commonly used medications are related to adverse events such as death, hip fractures, head injuries and pneumonia.
Cites: Lancet. 2015 Nov 28;386(10009):2145-9126321261
Dementia, with Alzheimer's disease (AD) being the most common form, is a major hip fracture risk factor, but currently it is not known whether the same factors predict hip fracture among persons with and without dementia/AD. We compared the predictors of hip fracture and mortality after hip fracture in persons with and without AD.
An exposure-matched cohort of all community-dwellers of Finland who received a new clinically verified AD diagnosis in 2005-2011 and had no history of previous hip fracture (N = 67,072) and an age, sex, and region-matched cohort of persons without AD (N = 67,072). Associations between sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidities and medications and risk of hip fracture and mortality after hip fracture were assessed with Cox regression.
As expected, the incidence of hip fractures in 2005-2012 (2.19/100 person-years vs 0.90/100 person-years in the non-AD cohort), as well as mortality after hip fracture (29/100 person-years vs 23/100 person-years in the non-AD cohort) were higher in the AD cohort. This difference was evident regardless of the risk factors. Mental and behavioural disorders (adjusted hazard ratio; HR 95% confidence interval CI: 1.16, 1.09-1.24 and 1.71, 1.52-1.92 in the AD and non-AD-cohorts), antipsychotics (1.12, 1.04-1.20 and 1.56, 1.38-1.76 for AD and non-AD-cohorts) and antidepressants (1.06, 1.00-1.12 and 1.34 1.22-1.47 for AD and non-AD-cohorts) were related to higher, and estrogen/combination hormone therapy (0.87, 0.77-0.9 and 0.79, 0.64-0.98 for AD and non-AD-cohorts) to lower hip fracture risk in both cohorts. Stroke (1.42, 1.26-1.62), diabetes (1.13, 0.99-1.28), active cancer treatment (1.67, 1.22-2.30), proton pump inhibitors (1.14, 1.05-1.25), antiepileptics (1.27, 1.11-1.46) and opioids (1.10, 1.01-1.19) were associated with higher hip fracture risk in the non-AD cohort. Similarly, the associations between mortality risk factors (age, sex, several comorbidities and medications) were stronger in the non-AD cohort.
AD itself appears to be such a significant risk factor for hip fracture, and mortality after hip fracture, that it overrules or diminishes the effect of other risk factors. Thus, it is important to develop and implement preventive interventions that are suitable and effective in this population.