|Year : 2009 | Volume
| Issue : 5 | Page : 87-92
Safety and efficacy of antipsychotic drugs for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
Chittaranjan Andrade, Rajiv Radhakrishnan
Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore 560 029, India
Background: Antipsychotic drugs are commonly used in the treatment of the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).
Materials and Methods: We present a qualitative review of the data on the efficacy and safety of antipsychotic drugs for BPSD. We more specifically examine safety issues with an especial focus on recent research. We examine two safety studies in detail to provide readers with a critical perspective.
Results: Typical and atypical antipsychotic drugs both attenuate the severity of BPSD; however, both categories of drugs increase the risk of cerebrovascular and other adverse events, as well as the risk of death. The risk appears greater with the typical drugs, with higher doses, and during the initial weeks of treatment. The risk probably persists for as long as a year after the initiation of treatment. Both drug- and patient-related factors appear to mediate this increase in risk.
Conclusions: Antipsychotic drugs should be considered for BPSD only if there is a specific need, or if other treatments have failed; decision-making should be individualized and documented after a risk-benefit analysis. Atypical antipsychotics appear safer than the typical drugs. The lowest effective dose should be used.
Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore 560 029
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
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