Real-World Treatment Patterns and Characteristics Among Patients with Agitation and Dementia in the United States: Findings from a Large, Observational, Retrospective Chart Review

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 2020


Few studies have examined patient characteristics and treatment patterns among patients with dementia and agitation in the United States (US).


To examine real-world treatment patterns and characteristics of patients with agitation related to dementia who were treated with antipsychotics in US residential care and community-based settings.


This retrospective chart review collected US physician-level data from patients 55 to 90 years old initiated on an antipsychotic medication for the treatment of agitation related to dementia from January 2018 to May 2018. Clinical characteristics and treatment patterns were assessed overall and stratified by residential care and community-based settings.


A total of 313 participating physicians, 59.5% of whom were primary care physicians, abstracted 801 patient charts (residential care: n = 312; community-based: n = 489). Of patients with agitation who were initiated on an antipsychotic, most patients (74.5%) were initiated within 3 months of the onset of their studied agitation episode, and 62.8% experienced multiple agitation episodes before initiation. While non-pharmacological therapies are recommended first-line approach for agitation in dementia, use of non-pharmacological therapy before initiation of antipsychotics was reported for only 37.8% of patients in residential care and 21.3% in community-based settings.


Most patients were initiated on an antipsychotic treatment after multiple episodes of agitation and largely without initial non-pharmacological therapy, suggesting that current treatment guideline recommendations for first-line non-pharmacological intervention may not be adequately followed in clinical practice. Understanding the clinical burden and treatment patterns among dementia patients with agitation is imperative for effective disease management.

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Aigbogun MS, Cloutier M, Gauthier-Loiselle M, Guerin A, Ladouceur M, Baker RA, Grundman M, Duffy RA, Hartry A, Gwin K, Fillit H