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Antidepressant Use in the Elderly Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Dementia

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A retrospective cohort study was conducted including 3688 patients age 60 years or older without dementia enrolled in a depression screening study in primary care clinics. Information on antidepressant use and incident dementia during follow-up was retrieved from electronic medical records. The Cox proportional hazard models were used to compare the risk for incident dementia among 5 participant groups: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) only, non-SSRI only (non-SSRI), mixed group of SSRI and non-SSRI, not on antidepressants but depressed, and not on antidepressants and not depressed. SSRI and non-SSRI users had significantly higher dementia risk than the nondepressed nonusers (hazard ratio [HR]=1.83, P=0.0025 for SSRI users and HR=1.50, P=0.004 for non-SSRI users). In addition, SSRIs users had significantly higher dementia risk than non-users with severe depression (HR=2.26, P=0.0005). Future research is needed to confirm our results in other populations and to explore potential mechanism underlying the observed association.
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Keywords: antidepressants; dementia; retrospective cohort study

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Biostatistics, Richard M. Fairbank School of Public Health, Indiana University 2: Departments of Biostatistics, Richard M. Fairbank School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis 3: Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis, Psychiatry, Regenstrief Institute Inc. 4: Regenstrief Institute Inc. 5: Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis, Regenstrief Institute Inc., Department of Pharmacy Practice, Purdue University School of Pharmacy, West Lafayette, IN 6: Psychiatry 7: Indiana University Center for Aging Research, Indianapolis, Regenstrief Institute Inc., Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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