To investigate the prevalence of pain-related diagnoses in patients with dementia and evaluate the association of pain-related diagnoses with demographic characteristics and dementia subtypes.
In this population-based retrospective cohort study, participants were recruited from a cohort of 2 million people randomly sampled from the general population in the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan from 2000 to 2013. The index year was defined as the period of 1 year from the date of the first diagnosis of dementia.
The study group comprised 28,450 patients with the dementia subtypes of vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other dementia subtypes. The mean age of patients with dementia was 76.75 years. Of all patients with dementia, 49.07% had at least one pain-related diagnosis documented in their outpatient or inpatient claim records within the index year. The top three pain-related diagnoses were osteoarthritis (29.27%), headache (12.53%), and osteoporosis (11.43%). Musculoskeletal diagnosis was more likely in female patients with vascular dementia. Although patients with vascular dementia had a significantly lower prevalence of pain-related diagnosis, they had a significantly higher risk of 1-year mortality than patients with other dementia subtypes.
During the index year, 49.07% of patients with dementia had at least one pain-related diagnosis. To investigate the differences of the use of pain medication in patients with different dementia subtypes and the difference of pain-related diagnosis and treatment in patients with and without dementia, future studies are recommended.