Psychotropic Drug Use in Relation to Psychiatric Symptoms in Community‐Living Persons With Alzheimer's Disease

Todd P. Semla, Donna Cohen, Sally Freels, Gregory J. Paveza, J. Wesson Ashford, Philip Gorelick, Daniel Luchins, Carl Eisdorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We attempted to determine the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and psychotropic drug use in persons with Alzheimer's disease based on a multicenter patient registry of 671 community-living persons diagnosed with the disease by published criteria. Logistic regression was performed to determine which symptoms were associated psychotropic use after controlling for age, sex, and Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score. At least one psychotropic drug was reported by 31% of patients, and 66% had at least one psychiatric symptom. Antipsychotics were associated with a lower MMSE score (odds ratio=0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.88-0.97), emotional lability (OR=4.52, 95% CI 1.69-11.94), and hallucinations (OR=6.54, 95% CI 2.99- 14.26). Antidepressants were associated with depressive symptoms (OR=5.8, 95% CI 2.61-13.46), and benzodiazepines with a lower MMSE score (OR=0.93, 95% CI 0.90-0.97). Community-living persons with Alzheimer's disease are frequently prescribed psychotropic drugs; however, more than 50% of patients with a psychiatric symptom did not report taking one of these agents. This suggests that alternative therapies and no treatment are also prevalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-501
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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