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Demographics, Symptoms, Psychotropic Use, and Caregiver Distress in Patients With Early vs Late Onset Dementia.

BACKGROUND: Understanding experiences and challenges faced by persons living with Early-Onset Dementia (EOD) compared to individuals diagnosed with Late-Onset Dementia (LOD) is important for the development of targeted interventions.

OBJECTIVE: Describe differences in sociodemographic, neuropsychiatric behavioral symptoms, caregiver characteristics, and psychotropic use.

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional, retrospective study including 908 UCLA Alzheimer's Dementia Care Program participants (177 with EOD and 731 with LOD).

MEASUREMENTS: Onset of dementia was determined using age at program enrollment, with EOD defined as age <65 years and LOD defined as age >80 years. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were measured once at enrollment. Behavioral symptoms were measured using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire (NPI-Q) severity score and caregiver distress was measured using the NPI-Q distress score. Medications included antipsychotic, antidepressant, benzodiazepines and other hypnotics, antiepileptics, and dementia medications.

RESULTS: EOD compared to LOD participants were more likely men, college graduates, married, live alone, and have fewer comorbidities. EOD caregivers were more often spouses (56% vs 26%, p <0.01), whereas LOD caregivers were more often children (57% vs 10%, p <0.01). EOD was associated with lower odds of being above the median (worse) NPI-Q severity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.58; 95% CI 0.35-0.96) and NPI-Q distress scores (aOR, 0.53; 95% CI 0.31-0.88). Psychotropic use did not differ between groups though symptoms were greater for LOD compared to EOD.

CONCLUSION: Persons with EOD compared to LOD had sociodemographic differences, less health conditions, and fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms. Future policies could prioritize counseling for EOD patients and families, along with programs to support spousal caregivers of persons with EOD.

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