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Study reveals increased rate of prescribing antipsychotics for dementia during pandemic

The study combined data from six countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and South Korea.


(Pixabay- geralt)

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A new study revealed that the rate of prescribing antipsychotic drugs rose substantially among people with dementia during the first few months of the pandemic, and remained high through 2021.

The journal JAMA Psychiatry shared that the research focused on data from more than 857,000 people diagnosed with dementia in six countries: the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and South Korea, and in each of them, the number of antipsychotic prescriptions increased, with South Korea and the United Kingdom showing the most substantial increase.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers used databases from the aforementioned countries from 2016 to 2021 and identified the total number of people diagnosed with dementia and prescription rates.

"The main outcomes were yearly and monthly incidence of dementia diagnosis and prevalence of people living with dementia who were prescribed antipsychotic drugs in each database. Interrupted time series analyses were used to quantify changes in prescribing rates before and after the introduction of population-wide Covid-19 restrictions" the journal explained.

While the study states that the data cannot decipher the specific causes for the increase in these rates, the researchers believe that this phenomenon can be "associated with both a deterioration in behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and reduced access to care following the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions."

Also, the study's data suggests that during the pandemic, medical care for people with dementia was disrupted.

"The burden of unmet needs in people living with dementia was substantial (...) This population faced continued challenges in care even after the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic," the authors wrote.

The pandemic undoubtedly harmed people's health. One example was the way adolescents' brains aged. According to a Stanford University study, confinement caused teenagers' brains to age by three to four years.