Use of anti-dementia drugs in relation to change in cognition, behavior, and functioning in Alzheimer's disease over a three-year period: Kuopio ALSOVA study

Soili M Tormalehto, Janne A Martikainen, Saku T Vaatainen, Ilona T Hallikainen, Merja Hallikainen, J Simon Bell, Anne Koivisto, on the behalf of the ALSOVA study group

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Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by deterioration in cognition, decline in physical function, and increase in behavioral disturbances. These symptoms are associated with dependence.
Objective: We investigated the use of anti-dementia drugs in relation to change in cognition, function, and behavior over a 3-year period.
Methods: Data were collected as part of the prospective follow-up ALSOVA study. All study participants (n = 236) had very mild or mild AD at baseline. All participants and their informal caregivers underwent annual clinical and medication assessments. Repeated measures logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors associated with anti-dementia drug use and disease progression measures over time.
Results: The overall prevalence of anti-dementia drug use remained stable (from 89% to 92%) during the follow-up period. The use of memantine and cholinesterase inhibitor-memantine combination treatment increased with disease severity. After adjustment for confounding, a one-point increase in the disease severity scale (CDR-SOB) was associated with 15.6% increased odds of memantine use. A one-point decrease in CERAD Neuropsychological battery (CERAD-NB) total score was associated with 2.4% increased odds of memantine use. The overall unadjusted rate of switching between anti-dementia drugs was 9.17 (95%CI 7.10 to 11.88) changes per 100 person-years.
Conclusion: Nearly 90% of newly diagnosed persons with AD were prescribed anti-dementia drugs. Use of memantine was found to be associated with disease progression. Switching and use of anti-dementia drugs was consistent with Finnish and European clinical practice guidelines for AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1033-1041
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cholinesterase inhibitor
  • dementia
  • drug utilization
  • memantine

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