Update on neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia: Evaluation and management

Raj K. Kalapatapu, Judith A. Neugroschl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia can lead to a decreased quality of life, rapid cognitive decline, early patient institutionalization, tremendous caregiver burden, and increased cost of care. A thorough assessment to evaluate and treat any underlying causes of symptoms is essential. With the lack of an approved drug totreat the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, nonpharmacologic interventions take on added importance. Behavioral management, cognitive stimulation therapy, and caregiver and health care staff education have shown the most promise to reduce symptom burden over the long term. The antipsychotic drugs have been the traditional choice of medications to treat the neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia, but safety problems emerged with their use, leading to the issuance of label changes ("black box" warnings) by the Food and Drug Administration. Aside from antipsychotic drugs, multiple classes of medications have been tried to treat such symptoms but long-term data showing efficacy and safety are often lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatrics
Volume64
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009

Keywords

  • Dementia
  • Evaluation
  • Management
  • Update

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