Trazodone and patient outcomes in dementia-Limitations of naturalistic cohort data.


The unfolded protein response has been increasingly implicated as an important pathological pathway and target for therapeutic intervention in neurodegeneration. The licensed antidepressant trazodone is one drug which has been proposed to act on this pathway and may therefore be a potential therapy. Previous examination of existing data for patients with dementia prescribed trazodone did not find a signal suggesting a disease modifying effect. Here we add to that literature by examining the electronic patient record of patients with dementia in Cambridgeshire UK. We found that trazodone is rarely prescribed and where it is used it is at a dose less than half that predicted to be disease modifying. We also found that patients prescribed trazodone had higher levels of neuropsychiatric symptoms and were relatively late in the disease course, likely beyond the optimal point for therapeutic intervention. We suggest it is therefore premature to discard potential therapies based on observational data alone, particularly when experimental medicine approaches to examine the effects of trazodone are feasible.