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Medication adherence in patients with dementia: An Austrian cohort study


Haider, Bernhard, Schmidt, Reinhold, Schweiger, Christine, Forstner, Thomas, Labek, Anna, Lampl, Christian


Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, Volume: 28, No.: 2, Pages.: 128-133

Year of Publication



Sustained treatment with effective doses of cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine is crucial to transfer treatment effects in dementia. Numerous studies, with often small samples sizes, describe low adherence rates. The purpose of current study was to examine the medical adherence of antidementia therapy in Austria. We analyzed the data of 10 Austrian Health Insurance Funds, including treatment-naive dementia patients. Study outcome measures were discontinuation, switching, number of days on therapy, Medication-Possession-Ratio, and compliance. A total of 15,809 patients (mean age: 79.9 y, female: 67.3%) met the study’s inclusion criteria. After stratification by index medication there were 40.3% on donepezil (n = 6371); 26.6% on rivastigmine (n = 4206); 15.3% on galantamine (n = 2424); and 17.8% on memantine (n = 2808). After 6 and 12 months on therapy, 5376 (34.0%) and 9243 (58.5%) patients stopped the initially prescribed antidementia therapy; after 12 months the highest discontinuation rate was seen for patients taking rivastigmine (67.3%), whereas patients on memantine (45.0%) had the lowest. After 12 months, a total of 1874 (11.9%) patients switched from their index medication to another cholinesterase inhibitor or memantine. A total of 6163 patients (39.0%) were compliant (Medication-Possession- Ratio > 80%) during the first 6 months and 5366 patients (33.9%) during 12 months of the study. Our study shows that memantine-treated patients adhere significantly better to treatment. Specifically, after 12 months, 45.0% discontinued medication, 7.9% switched, and 50.8% of patients on therapy were compliant. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Bibtex Citation

@article{Haider_2014, doi = {10.1097/wad.0000000000000006}, url = {}, year = 2014, publisher = {Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)}, volume = {28}, number = {2}, pages = {128--133}, author = {Bernhard Haider and Reinhold Schmidt and Christine Schweiger and Thomas Forstner and Anna Labek and Christian Lampl}, title = {Medication Adherence in Patients With Dementia}, journal = {Alzheimer Disease {&} Associated Disorders} }


adherence, cholinesterase inhibitors, cohort analysis, cohort study, dementia, drug therapy, medication adherence, memantine, treatment, treatment effects

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Anti-Alzheimer medications, e.g.: donezepil, galantamine, rivastigmine, memantime