Antidepressants and mortality risk in a dementia cohort: data from SveDem, the Swedish Dementia Registry

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Abstract

Background:

The association between mortality risk and use of antidepressants in people with dementia is unknown.

Objective:

To describe the use of antidepressants in people with different dementia diagnoses and to explore mortality risk associated with use of antidepressants 3 years before a dementia diagnosis.

Methods:

Study population included 20 050 memory clinic patients from the Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem) diagnosed with incident dementia. Data on antidepressants dispensed at the time of dementia diagnosis and during 3-year period before dementia diagnosis were obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Cox regression models were used.

Results:

During a median follow-up of 2 years from dementia diagnosis, 25.8% of dementia patients died. A quarter (25.0%) of patients were on antidepressants at the time of dementia diagnosis, while 21.6% used antidepressants at some point during a 3-year period before a dementia diagnosis. Use of antidepressant treatment for 3 consecutive years before a dementia diagnosis was associated with a lower mortality risk for all dementia disorders and in Alzheimer's disease.

Conclusion:

Antidepressant treatment is common among patients with dementia. Use of antidepressants during prodromal stages may reduce mortality in dementia and specifically in Alzheimer's disease.

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