To study potentially modifiable factors associated with the severity of agitation or aggression (A/A) symptoms among Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients.
Data from the Impact of Cholinergic Treatment Use (ICTUS) study, European longitudinal prospective observational study.
Community dwelling outpatients included in 29 European memory clinics.
1375 participants with probable AD (Mini-Mental State Examination score of 10–26) with an informal caregiver.
At baseline and twice yearly over the two-year follow-up, patients underwent comprehensive clinical and neuropsychological assessments: sociodemographic data, cognitive status, functional impairment, and assessment of neuropsychiatric symptoms based on Neuro-Psychiatric Inventory (NPI). The ZARIT scale assessed the caregiver’s burden. The variable of interest was the severity of the item of A/A of the NPI. To study factors associated to the severity of A/A symptoms six months later, a multivariate mixed regression model was used.
Frequency of A/A symptom varied from 30% to 34% at each visit. Two factors were found to be independently associated with the severity of A/A: (1) the presence of affective disorder (anxiety, depression, and/or irritability) that increased the severity of the A/A by 0.89 point (coefficient:0.89; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = [0.48,1.30], p < 0.001), and (2) a severe caregiver burden that increased the severity of the A/A by 1.08 point (coefficient:1.08; 95% CI = [0.69,1.47], p < 0.001).
Research should evaluate whether the identification and treatment of an affective disorder along with the evaluation and optimal management of the caregiver would have a positive impact on the course of A/A in mild to moderate AD patients.