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Alzheimer's prescriptions six times higher than a decade ago

Prescriptions for Alzheimer’s are six times higher than ten years ago, rising from 502,000 in 2004 to over 3 million in 2014, a report by HSCIC has found.

The report, called Focus on Dementia, also assessed the cost of Alzheimer’s drugs over the past decade, with NHS spend rising from £42.8m in 2004 to £110.8m in 2011, before a patent expiry allowed cheaper variations to fill the market and prices fell to £45.7m in 2014.

Diagnoses of dementia have also increased, with 423,000 diagnoses being made at the end of 2015, a slight raise on figures that were reported in Pulse last year after a concerted effort by the Government to incentivise GPs in diagnosing more people with dementia.

The report data was compiled from a range of sources - including GPs – across England to bring together for the first time a compilation of new and existing statistics as well as the identification of key risk areas that can be used to help prevent dementia.

Jonathan Hope, lead statistician for the report, said: ‘Our ageing population means that the way we diagnose, treat and care for people with dementia will be increasingly important to many of us.

‘I hope that bringing statistics together from different aspects of health and care services can give us a more rounded picture of the treatment and experiences of those with dementia and their carers.’

 

Readers' comments (2)

  • So?

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  • I notice that dementia has been shortened to "Alzheimer's".

    My question is: do all these patients have dementia? Or have they been diagnosed with "early Alzheimer's disease" (but do not have clinical dementia) on the basis of Government and Charity National drives?

    We do not want to see delayed diagnosis (unless that is the individual’s explicit choice) but neither do we want to see mis-diagnosis or over-diagnosis.

    The risk of misdiagnosing non-progressive cognitive change as "Alzheimers" is very real. Big Charities and Governments and "Improvement teams" do not seem to wish to discuss this.

    By shortening memory loss to "Alzheimer's" have we culturally and scientifically RE-DEFINED what we mean by "dementia"?? I

    Might we be causing harm, adding to fear, and capturing too much of ageing through a simplistic and misunderstood approach to biological changes that may be associated with ageing?

    Dr Peter J Gordon
    Psychiatrist for Older Adults
    (speaking in a personal capacity)

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