New Dementia Report: Alzheimer’s Drugs Prescriptions Six Times Higher Than A Decade Ago

medicinesThe number of prescriptions dispensed in England for approved medicines2 to treat Alzheimer’s increased from 502,0003 in 2004 to 3.0 million in 2014.

The cost to the NHS of prescriptions4 for Alzheimer’s disease medicines dispensed in primary care stood at £45.7m in 2014. This was up from £42.8m in 2004, but down from the high point it reached in 2011 of £110.8m5.

The statistics are published today as part of the Focus On Dementia report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), pulling together in one place for the first time a range of information on dementia including statistics on diagnosis, prescribing, social care, mental health and lifestyle trends. The report also shows:

  • The proportion of people who had a diagnosis of dementia in their GP record rose from 643 per 100,000 people in April 2014 to 755 people per 100,000 in December 20156.
  • 576,000 ‘care clusters’7 were assigned to adults accessing mental health and learning disability services at the end of September 2015 – one in five (19 per cent) of these was a dementia-related care cluster.
  • 39 per cent of carers who looked after someone with dementia spent 100 or more hours each week doing so in 2014/15. Over half (51 per cent) of carers had been in this role for more than five years.

Responsible statistician Jonathan Hope 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.”

Today’s report can be found at:

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England’s trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Figures are given for prescriptions of the four medicines appraised by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to treat Alzheimer’s disease (Donepezil Hydrochloride, Galantamine, Rivastigmine and Memantine).
  3. Counts over 1 million have been rounded to the nearest 100,000. Counts over 10,000 are rounded to the nearest 1,000. Counts over 1,000 are rounded to the nearest 100. Percentages are rounded to the nearest per cent.
  4. Cost to the NHS as measured by the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC). The NIC is the cost of a drug item before discounts and does not include any dispensing costs or fees and therefore does not represent the whole cost to the NHS, however the overall amounts are very similar. It does not include any adjustment for income obtained where a prescription charge is paid at the time the prescription is dispensed or where the patient has purchased a pre-payment certificate.
  5. The substantial fall followed the expiry of the patent on the most commonly prescribed drug Donepezil Hydrochloride. After the expiry, cheaper generic formulations became available.
  6. The HSCIC publishes monthly counts of the number of patients in England who have a record of dementia diagnosis on their clinical GP record. The first monthly report covered April 2014 and the most recent published data covers December 2015 and can be found here:
  7. Mental health services use 21 care clusters to help assess patients’ needs and 85 per cent of patients in contact with mental health services have a care cluster assigned. There are three care clusters relating to dementia.







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