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BMC Geriatr. 2019 Feb 14;19(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12877-019-1058-6.

Patterns of antihypertensive and statin adherence prior to dementia: findings from the adult changes in thought study.

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Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St, H375G, Box 357630, Seattle, WA, 98195-7630, USA.
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, 1730 Minor Ave, Ste 1600, Seattle, WA, 98101, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3811 O'Hara St, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.
Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific St, H375G, Box 357630, Seattle, WA, 98195-7630, USA.
Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, 325 Ninth Avenue, Box 359780, Seattle, WA, 98104, USA.



Detecting patients with undiagnosed dementia is an important clinical challenge. Changes in medication adherence might represent an early sign of cognitive impairment. We sought to examine antihypertensive and statin adherence trajectories in community-dwelling older adults, comparing people who went on to develop dementia to those who did not.


We analyzed data from Adult Changes in Thought (ACT), a population-based cohort study embedded within an integrated healthcare delivery system. Analyses included 4368 participants aged ≥65 years who had at least one follow-up visit. Research-quality dementia diagnoses were used to identify cases. We selected non-dementia control visits matched on age, sex, and study cohort that occurred at similar ACT follow-up time as the case's dementia onset; we treated this as the index date. Participants were included if they were prevalent users of either a statin or antihypertensive medication on the first day of follow up - 3 years prior to the index date. Using prescription fill dates and days supply, we calculated daily binary medication availability measures for each participant ('days covered') over 3 years leading up to the index date. We used group-based trajectory models to identify patterns of antihypertensive and statin adherence, and used conditional logistic regression to examine associations between adherence trajectories and dementia.


Four trajectories were identified for antihypertensive users (292 cases, 3890 control visits), including near perfect (n = 1877, 36.6% cases, 45.5% controls), high (n = 1840, 43.2% cases, 44.1% controls), moderate (n = 365, 18.5% cases, 8.0% controls) and early poor adherence (n = 100, 1.7% cases, 2.4% controls). Odds of dementia was 3 times greater for those with moderate antihypertensive adherence compared to those with near perfect adherence (adjusted OR 3.0, 95% CI 2.0, 4.3). Four trajectories were identified for statin users (148 cases, 1131 control visits), including high (n = 1004, 75.0% cases, 79.0% controls), moderate (n = 192, 19.6% cases, 14.4% controls), early poor (n = 43, 2.0% cases, 3.5% controls), and delayed poor adherence (n = 40, 3.4% cases, 3.1% controls). No association was detected between statin adherence trajectories and dementia.


Patterns of medication adherence may be useful to identify a subset of people at higher likelihood of developing dementia.


Antihypertensives; Community dwelling; Dementia; Medication adherence; Older adults

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