Although patients with dementia frequently experience neuropsychological symptoms (NPS) such as agitation, which profoundly impacts patients, caregivers, and the healthcare system, few studies have evaluated the associated burden of agitation or agitation-related symptoms in dementia.
This retrospective analysis of claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan® database (2012–2015) compared clinical characteristics, treatment patterns, healthcare resource utilization, and costs among patients with dementia with behavioral disturbances (BD) versus patients with dementia without BD. Existing BD diagnosis codes 294.11 or 294.21 were used as a means to identify patients with agitation/agitation-related symptoms.
From a starting sample of 6.4 million beneficiaries, 103,402 patients with dementia were identified, of whom 16,440 (16%) had BD during an average of 17 months of follow-up. Patients with BD had significantly more medical and psychiatric comorbidities and greater comedication use (i.e., antidementia drugs, antidepressants, and antipsychotics; all values, P < .0001) compared with patients without BD. A significantly greater number of hospitalizations, hospital days, outpatient hospital/clinic visits, number of skilled nursing visits, and number of patients with hospice visit were reported during follow-up in patients with BD compared with patients without BD (all values, P < 0.0001). Costs were also significantly higher among patients with BD versus those patients without BD ($42,284 vs. $32,640, respectively; P < 0.0001).
Patients with dementia with BD had a higher prevalence of comorbidities, greater use of comedications, and greater healthcare utilization and costs than patients with dementia without BD.