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Trazodone Not Associated With Reduced Risk for Dementia

Study refutes animal studies suggesting trazodone delays dementia in patients at prodromal stage


THURSDAY, Feb. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Trazodone is not associated with a reduced risk for dementia compared with other antidepressants at the prodromal stage of disease, according to a study published online Feb. 5 in PLOS Medicine.

Ruth Brauer, Ph.D., from the University College London School of Pharmacy, and colleagues examined patients from The Health Improvement Network, an archive of anonymized medical and prescribing records from patients aged 50 years and older who received at least two consecutive prescriptions for an antidepressant between January 2000 and January 2017. The risk for dementia for patients who were prescribed trazodone was compared to that of patients with similar baseline characteristics who were prescribed other antidepressants. After propensity score matching, data were analyzed for 4,596 patients prescribed trazodone and 22,980 prescribed other antidepressants.

The researchers found that for patients prescribed trazodone, the median time to dementia diagnosis was 1.8 years. Among patients taking trazodone, the incidence of dementia was higher than in matched users of other antidepressants (1.8 versus 1.1 per 100 person-years; hazard ratio, 1.8). The results did not indicate a causal correlation.

"Using electronic health records from U.K. primary care, we showed that trazodone use was not associated with a reduced risk of dementia compared with other antidepressants," the authors write. "These results refute the suggestions from animal studies that trazodone might stop or delay the onset of dementia in patients at the prodromal stage of dementia."

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health information technology industries.

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