Do Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors Prevent or Delay Psychotropic Prescribing in People With Dementia? Analyses of the Swedish Dementia Registry

Edwin C.K. Tan, Kristina Johnell, J. Simon Bell, Sara Garcia-Ptacek, Johan Fastbom, Peter Nordström, Maria Eriksdotter

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Objectives: To investigate whether acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI) use prevents or delays subsequent initiation of psychotropic medications in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Lewy body dementia (LBD). Methods: Cohort study of 17,763 people with AD and LBD, without prior psychotropic use at time of dementia diagnosis, registered in the Swedish Dementia Registry from 2007 to 2015. Propensity score-matched regression models were used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between time-dependent AChEI use and risk of psychotropic initiation. Results: Compared with matched comparators, AChEI users had a lower risk of antipsychotic (HR: 0.85, 95%CI: 0.75–0.95) and anxiolytic (HR: 0.76, 95%CI: 0.72–0.80) initiation. In subanalyses, this association remained significant at higher AChEI doses, and in AD but not LBD. There were no associations between AChEI use and initiation of antidepressants or hypnotics. Conclusion: AChEI use may be associated with lower risk of antipsychotic and anxiolytic initiation in AD, particularly at higher doses. Further investigation into aceytylcholinesterase inhibitors in behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia management in LBD is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalThe American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • antipsychotics
  • behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
  • Dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • psychotropics

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