Many with Alzheimer's Get Depression Drug

WALTHAM, Mass., April 1 (UPI) — Some 52 percent of those with Alzheimer’s are prescribed an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, but 28.1 percent get an antidepressant, U.S. researchers say.

Matthew Winton, an analyst with Decision Resources, a research and advisory company focusing on pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, says 45 percent of surveyed primary care physicians say they prescribe antidepressants as a monotherapy, compared with 27 percent of surveyed neurologists.


“The prescribing of antidepressants as first line therapy for Alzheimer’s disease not only underscores the relatively high rate of comorbidity between Alzheimer’s disease and depression, but more importantly indicates that physicians and/or patients prioritize the treatment of depression in newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease patients,” Winton said in a statement.

“This is likely because physicians perceive that effective treatments exist for depression, but not for cognitive decline.”

Patient-level claims data show 34.9 percent of patients begin first-line treatment for Alzheimer’s disease within a year of their first diagnosis, the study says.

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