BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common disease causing dementia, is linked to increased mortality. However, the effect of antipsychotic use on specific causes of mortality has not yet been investigated thoroughly.
METHODS: Utilizing the Danish nationwide registers, we defined a cohort of patients diagnosed with AD. Utilizing separate Cox regressions for specific causes of mortality, we investigated the effects of cumulative antipsychotic dosage after diagnosis and current antipsychotic exposure in the time period 2000-2011.
RESULTS: In total, 45,894 patients were followed for 3,803,996 person-years. A total of 6129 cardiovascular related deaths, 2088 cancer related deaths, 1620 infection related deaths, and 28 intentional self-harm related deaths are presented. Current antipsychotic exposure increased mortality rate with HR between 1.92 and 2.31 for cardiovascular, cancer, and infection related death. Cumulative antipsychotic dosages were most commonly associated with increased rates of mortality for cardiovascular and infection as cause of death, whereas the associations were less clear with cancer and intentional self-harm as cause of death.
CONCLUSIONS: We showed that cumulative antipsychotic drug dosages increased mortality rates for cardiovascular and infection as cause of death. These findings highlight the need for further investigations of long-term effects of treatment and of possible sub-groups who could benefit from treatment.