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How do medications help with dementia behavior problems?

How do antipsychotic drugs help people with dementia related behavior issues?
Status: Open    Jan 05, 2015 - 04:12 PM


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May 27, 2016 - 09:40 AM

Antipsychotics are used to treat agitation, hallucinations, delusions, and physical aggression in patients with dementia related behavior problems. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality performed a meta analysis of the efficacy of anti-psychotics used to treat psychosis (i.e. hallucinations/delusions), and agitation. They studied aripiprazole (Abilify), olanazapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), and risperidone (Risperdal). They found risperidone to have moderate to high efficacy, and thus risperidone is considered to be the initial drug of choice when treating behavior symptoms in dementia.

It is worth noting that aggression can be a form of communication in the elderly. Additionally, aggression, hallucinations, and agitation can be caused by other drugs commonly prescribed for seniors. Anti-psychotics carry a very high risk of cardiovascular events, and anti-depressants are often an effective alternative to antipsychotics. Comprehensive Medication Reviews can help you identify appropriate alternatives to anti-psychotics for behavior related symptoms, along with non-pharmacological ways to treat agitation. Please see the website in my profile for more information on Medication Reviews, and the list of medication-related problems that can be solved.


May 08, 2015 - 09:08 AM

It would be silly to re-invent the wheel on this one. The Alzheimer's Association has some great information about this question you have posed

Of course, patient and family education is key and knowing and understanding what your doctor wants to work with, the effects, and open and constant communication with him/her about the results you, the family/caregiver are seeing once the medication is started is key! There may be adjustments to be made, alternative options, etc. I would leave you with, continued converstaion with your doc and their nurse about your loved one and the challenges associated with behavior and medication you are having and facing.


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