Impact of deprivation, dementia prevalence and regional demography on prescribing of antidementia drugs in England: A time trend analysis

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Warwick
  • Coventry University


AIM: This study aimed to examine trends in prescribing of antidementia drugs in primary care in England between 2009 and 2019, and investigate the impact of deprivation, regional demography and disease prevalence on prescribing practices.

METHODS: Analysis of publicly available government data from various sources pertaining to primary care prescribing and demographics was conducted. All primary care prescription data pertaining to antidementia drugs in England between 2009 and 2019 were extracted and adjusted for inflation and population changes. Data across English clinical commissioning regions were compared to explore the association between prescribing trend, deprivation, regional demography and dementia prevalence.

RESULTS: The number of prescription items for antidementia drugs in England increased by approximately 3-fold (195.4%) from 24 items/1000 population in 2009 to 70.9 items/1000 population in 2019. In 2019, the least-deprived areas had approximately twice the rate of prescribing of antidementia drugs compared to the most-deprived areas (median [IQR] values of 46.7 [36.6-64.8] vs 91.23 [76.2-95.1] items/1000 population, respectively). In the multivariable analysis, the number of prescription items showed an inverse relationship with deprivation (coefficient -0.046, 95% CI -0.47 to -0.045) after adjustment for number of populations aged 65+ years and prevalence of dementia.

CONCLUSIONS: The 3-fold rise in the number of prescription items for antidementia drugs in the study period reflects the policy emphasis on early diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Higher rates of prescribing in the least-deprived areas may be reflective of better and early diagnoses and access to treatments. Such inequality in access to the treatments needs to be investigated further.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Early online date18 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2021


  • acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, antipsychotic drugs, dementia, N‐methyl‐d‐aspartate receptor antagonist, prescription patterns