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A new research found no association between the use of antidepressant trazodone and reduced risk of dementia compared with other antidepressants.

The UK population-based study, carried out by a team of researchers at the University College London and the University of Hong Kong and published in PLOS Medicine journal, looked at patient records from the Health Improvement Network (THIN), which has details of over 15 million primary care patients in the UK.

The researchers identified 4,716 patients over the age of 50 who received at least two consecutive trazodone prescriptions during a seven-year period and compared them to other 420,280 patients, who use other antidepressants with similar baseline characteristics.

Median time to dementia diagnosis for users of trazodone was 1.8 years and the incidence of dementia in patients prescribed trazodone was higher than in matched antidepressant users, the study revealed.

Researchers also discovered that trazodone users had an early onset of dementia, which contradicts the animal studies that the drug could stop or delay the onset of dementia.

The researchers said: “Whilst the incidence of dementia among patients taking trazodone was higher than that in patients taking other antidepressants, the risk difference was closer to zero with increasing duration of treatment, suggesting that people in the prodromal stage of dementia might be more likely to be prescribed trazodone.”

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