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Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Drug Use: A Nationwide Register-Based Study of Over 1 300 000 Older People
Published: Monday, August 15, 2011
Author: Kristina Johnell et al.

by Kristina Johnell, HÃ¥kan Fischer


To investigate the use of dopaminergic and serotonergic drugs in elderly people.


We analyzed data on age, sex and dispensed drugs for individuals aged =65 years registered in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register from July to September 2008 (n?=?1 347 564; 81% of the total population aged =65 years in Sweden). Main outcome measures were dopaminergic (enhancing and/or lowering) and serotonergic (enhancing and/or lowering) drugs and combinations of these.


Dopaminergic and serotonergic drugs were used by 5.6% and 13.2% the participants, respectively. Female gender was related to use of both dopaminergic and, particularly, serotonergic drugs. Higher age was associated with use of dopamine lowering drugs and serotonergic drugs, whereas the association with use of dopamine enhancing drugs declined in the oldest old. The occurrence of combinations of dopaminergic and serotonergic drugs was generally low, with dopamine lowering + serotonin lowering drug the most common combination (1.6%). Female gender was associated with all of the combinations of dopaminergic and serotonergic drugs, whereas age showed a mixed pattern.


Approximately one out of ten older patients uses serotonergic drugs and one out of twenty dopaminergic drugs. The frequent use of dopaminergic and serotonergic drugs in the elderly patients is a potential problem due to the fact that aging is associated with a down-regulation of both these monoaminergic systems. Future studies are needed for evaluation of the impact of these drugs on different cognitive and emotional functions in old age.