Drug Use Patterns of Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Living in the Community

Todd P. Semla*, Donna Cohen, Gregory Paveza, Carl Eisdorfer, Philip Gorelick, Daniel Luchins, Robert Hirschman, Sally Freels, Paul Levy, J. Wesson Ashford, Helen Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe drug use patterns by persons with Alzheimer's disease, multi‐infarct dementia, and mixed Alzheimer's disease and multi‐infarct dementia. Design: Multicenter, patient registry. Setting: Community‐living persons evaluated in primary care, geriatric, and Alzheimer ambulatory settings. Participants: Of the 930 persons in three diagnostic categories, there were 671 with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease by NINCDS/ADRDA criteria or Alzheimer's disease by DSM‐III‐R criteria, 162 multi‐infarct cases by DSM‐III‐R criteria, and 97 mixed cases by DSM‐III‐R criteria. In each diagnostic category, 65% were women, and the majority were 70 years or older. Measurements: The average number of all prescription and non‐prescription drugs and selected therapeutic categories by age, sex, diagnosis, and mini‐mental status score at the time of diagnosis or evaluation. Results: Alzheimer patients average 2.3 drugs compared with multi‐infarct (4.3; P < 0.0001) and mixed (3.7; P = 0.002) patients, and their pattern of drug use was different when stratified by therapeutic categories and drug classes. Drug use increased with age, and women used significantly more drugs than men in all three diagnostic categories. Women with Alzheimer's disease used significantly more cardiovascular drugs than men with Alzheimer's disease (P < 0.05). The lower the mini‐mental status score in patients with any dementia, the greater the mean number of central nervous system agents used. The higher the mini‐mental status score in a patient with multi‐infarct or mixed dementia, the greater the use of cardiovascular drugs. Conclusion: Drug use by Alzheimer patients was lower than in multi‐infarct and mixed patients, primarily due to a lower prevalence of cardiovascular drugs. 1993 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-413
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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