Dementia script numbers rise but costs fall

The number of prescriptions for drugs for Alzheimer’s disease rose more than six-fold over the past decade, according to a new report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). However, drug costs have halved since 2011.

The number of prescriptions dispensed in England for approved medicines to treat Alzheimer’s disease increased from 502,000 in 2004 to 3.0m in 2014. The net ingredient cost (NIC) rose from £42.8m in 2004 to £110.8m in 2011 before declining to £45.7m in 2014. Donepezil’s NIC accounted for most of the decrease, falling from £72.3m in 2011 to £3.7m in 2014 after generic versions became available.

Prescriptions for AD have risen six-fold


The proportion of people with a diagnosis of dementia in their GP record rose from 643 per 100,000 in April 2014 to 755 per 100,000 in December 2015.

The report also highlights the burden on carers. In 2014/15, 39 per cent of carers spent 100 or more hours each week looking after someone with dementia, with 51 per cent having cared for someone for more than five years. “

Our ageing population means that the way we diagnose, treat and care for people with dementia will be increasingly important to many of us,” says HSCIC statistician Jonathan Hope. “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.”

The report is available here.

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