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Keywords:

  • quetiapine;
  • elderly;
  • indication;
  • shift;
  • trend;
  • bipolar;
  • dementia;
  • agitation;
  • off label

Abstract

Rationale

Quetiapine was approved in Germany as an atypical antipsychotic for treatment of schizophrenia in 2000, followed by the approval as an antipsychotic for treatment of bipolar mania in 2003. The approval of quetiapine for treatment of bipolar depression is expected. We hypothesized that the psychogeriatric prescription pattern for quetiapine shifts from the psychotic to the affective spectrum.

Methods

Retrospectively we screened discharge reports of all geriatric inpatients of the psychiatric department of the Ruhr-University of Bochum in the period from January 2001 until March 2006 and identified 208 individual patients aged over 60 years, who had received quetiapine as final medication. Age, gender, daily drug dose, year of treatment and diagnosis (according to ICD-10) were recorded and analyzed.

Results

Over the six-year time span, the proportion of affective disorders (F3) as indication for quetiapine in the elderly increased, whereas the proportion of dementia (F0) as indication for quetiapine decreased significantly. The proportion of schizophrenic disorders (F2) treated with quetiapine did not change significantly.

Discussion

Since the decision of the German Federal Court in 2002 ‘off label’ use goes to the expenses of the prescriber. So the decrease of quetiapine in dementia is probably due to its ‘off label’ status in dementia. The psychogeriatric indication shift for quetiapine towards affective disorders could be the consequence of good clinical experiences with the drug and growing evidence for its antidepressant effect.

Conclusion

In addition to controlled pharmacological trials prospective clinical research is needed to evaluate the prescription attitudes of clinicians. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.