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Racial Disparities Noted in Quality of Care for Dementia

Asian patients less likely to be prescribed antidementia drugs; anxiolytics/hypnotic Rxs lower for blacks

TUESDAY, Jan. 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Black and Asian patients with dementia seem not to be receiving the same quality of care as white patients, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in Clinical Epidemiology.

Mary Elizabeth Jones, from University College London, and colleagues compared psychotropic drug prescribing initiation and duration among individuals aged 50 years and older with dementia from white, black, and Asian ethnic groups. Data were included for 53,718 individuals with and 1,648,889 adults without dementia.

The researchers found that among those with dementia, Asians were less likely to be prescribed antidementia drugs when they were potentially indicated (adjusted prevalence rate ratio, 0.86) compared with whites; they received them for an average of 15 days/year less. Asian and black people with dementia were no more likely than whites to take an antipsychotic drug, but those who had were prescribed them for 17 and 27 days/year more, respectively. The likelihood of being prescribed anxiolytics/hypnotics was lower for blacks (adjusted prevalence rate ratio, 0.60); the duration of drug prescribing was similar across ethnic groups. In analyses unadjusted for cardiovascular comorbidities, Asians were more likely to be prescribed anticholinergics (adjusted prevalence rate ratio, 1.43). Asians and blacks were less likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs relative to whites among those without dementia.

“Research is needed to explore how care pathways differ between ethnic groups, and where future campaigns to reduce inequalities should be focused,” the authors write.

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