Anti-Dementia Drug Persistence Following Donepezil Initiation Among Alzheimer's Disease Patients in Japan: LIFE Study

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Background: Donepezil is frequently used to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) symptoms but is associated with early discontinuation. Determining the persistence rates of anti-dementia drug use after donepezil initiation may inform the development and improvement of treatment strategies, but there is little evidence from Japan. Objective: To determine anti-dementia drug persistence following donepezil initiation among AD patients in Japan using insurance claims data. Methods: Insurance claims data for AD patients with newly prescribed donepezil were obtained from 17 municipalities between April 2014 and October 2021. Anti-dementia drug persistence was defined as a gap of ≤60 days between the last donepezil prescription and a subsequent prescription of donepezil, another cholinesterase inhibitor, or memantine. Cox proportional hazards models were used to analyze the association between care needs levels and discontinuation. Results: We analyzed 20,474 AD patients (mean age±standard deviation: 82.2±6.3 years, women: 65.7%). The persistence rates were 89.1% at 30 days, 79.4% at 90 days, 72.6% at 180 days, 64.5% at 360 days, and 58.3% at 540 days after initiation. Among the care needs levels, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for discontinuation was 1.01 (0.94-1.07) for patients with support needs, 1.12 (1.06-1.18) for patients with low long-term care needs, and 1.31 (1.21-1.40) for patients with moderate-to-high long-term care needs relative to independent patients. Conclusion: Japanese AD patients demonstrated low anti-dementia drug persistence rates that were similar to those of other countries. Higher long-term care needs were associated with discontinuation. Further measures are needed to improve drug persistence in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1186
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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