Alzheimer's drugs prescribing rose 20% but spending fell in 2014

Prescriptions dispensed for Alzheimer's drugs rose to 3m in 2014, a 20% increase over the year before and a 500% increase over the last decade, statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

Over 500,000 more items of donepezil, galantamine, memantine and rivastigmine prescriptions to treat Alzheimer’s were dispensed in 2014 compared with 2013, according to the Focus on Dementia report, a ‘compendium of statistics about dementia in England’.

But this amounts to a spend of £46m, a significant fall from the £60m spent in 2013 – largely a result of the spend on memantine almost halving over this time, although spending on all drugs fell despite the number of dispensed prescriptions rising.

It also marks a substantial drop from the all-time high spend of almost £111m in 2011.

GP-diagnosed prevalence of dementia increased from 643 per 100,000 to 755 from April 2014 to December 2015, statistics show.

Currently, 423,000 GP patients have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, out of 56m registered patients overall, equivalent to one out of every 125 patients (0.8%).

Women over 90 are statistically the most likely group to have dementia, with a prevalence of 21%. Prevalence for men over 90 is 13%.

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.’

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