People with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are more often hospitalised after antibiotic initiation than people without AD, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. The risk of hospitalization was 40 per cent higher for persons with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Out of individual antibiotics, persons with Alzheimer’s disease were more often hospitalized than people without AD after the initiation of cephalexine, pivmecillinam, amoxicillin and doxycycline. Hospitalization was associated with pre-existing illnesses, such as epilepsy or cancer, and certain medications, such as antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use.

This study used data from a Finnish register-based cohort, which includes all persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Finland during 2005–2011. The researchers analysed 34,785 persons who used antibiotics in an outpatient setting after their Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, and their comparison persons matched according to age, sex and region of residence.

Previous studies have shown that infections are a significant cause of hospitalization in persons with dementia. This study is the first to document hospitalization after antibiotic initiation. These results confirm the role of infections as a cause of hospitalization in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

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