Impact of Anti-Dementia Medication on the Risk of Death and Causes of Death in Alzheimer's Disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • Health Care
  • Merck Sharpe Dohme (MSD)
  • Finnish Local and Regional Authorities
  • Social Insurance Institution of Finland
  • MedEngine
  • University of Oulu


The Finnish population offers many advantages for evaluating the impact of anti-dementia medication on mortality in Alzheimer's disease (AD) due to broad range of individual-level data collected in national health and social care registries and the fact that Finland has one of the highest mortality rates for dementia globally. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the association of anti-dementia medication with 2-year risk of death and all-cause mortality in patients with AD. Methods: This was a retrospective, non-interventional registry study based on individual-level data using Finnish national health and social care registries. An incident cohort of 9,204 AD patients (first AD diagnosis in 2012) was formed from a population of 316,470 individuals ≥74 years of age. The main outcome measure was overall 2-year risk of death. Statistical modelling was used to assess mortality (Kaplan-Meier) and adjusted hazard ratios (HR) (Cox proportional hazard model). Results: Early start of anti-dementia medication (treatment started ≤3 months from AD diagnosis) reduced significantly the risk of all-cause death compared to AD patients who had late medication initiation (defined as treatment started >3 months from AD diagnosis/no medication; HR, 0.51; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.46-0.57). Dementia was the most common recorded cause of death in both groups. Conclusion: This study places importance on early diagnosis of AD and subsequent early initiation of drug treatment in decreasing 2-year risk of death.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1308
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Alzheimer's disease, cause of death, cholinesterase inhibitors, dementia, Finland, memantine, registry study, risk of death

ID: 38471683