Pharmacological approaches are a mainstay of treatment for people with dementia. Yet, little research on pharmacological approaches has taken place outside the clinical trial setting. These two papers buck this trend. The first is an attempt to assess, using a national database, national trends with respect to prescribed AD medications, dosing and persistence. The second turns to the topic of psychotropic medicines, and argues for a broader focus beyond anti-psychotic medication and questions the typically narrow focus on people with dementia. Both articles highlight the valuable contribution that national databases provide to policy-relevant research.