Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No Magic Pill For Treating Dementia Symptoms

Date:
February 10, 2005
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Many of the drugs commonly prescribed to treat agitation, delusions and other symptoms that can accompany dementia are not effective, researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues report this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Many of the drugs commonly prescribed to treat agitation, delusions and other symptoms that can accompany dementia are not effective, researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues report this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Our review of 29 research studies found that drug therapies are not particularly effective for managing symptoms such as agitation, wandering and delusions that are observed in most patients with dementia at some point in the illness," said Kaycee Sink, M.D., lead researcher. "There is no clear standard of care, and treatment is often based on local prescribing customs."

While the primary symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia involve memory deficits, other symptoms, including agitation, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, repetitive vocalizations and wandering have been observed in 60 percent to 98 percent of patients.

"Dementia-related behaviors are very distressing to both caregivers and medical professionals," said Sink, a geriatrician. "It was discouraging to find that we currently don't have good drug therapies for them."

More than half of people over age 85 are affected by dementia. Dementia-related behavioral problems are associated with longer hospital stays and often lead to placement in a nursing home. About 30 percent of the cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease is attributed to managing these symptoms, Sink said.

Sink and colleagues, Karen F. Holden, M.D., and Kristine Yaffe, M.D., both from the University of California at San Francisco, reviewed 29 research studies published between 1966 and mid-2004 that involved drug therapy commonly used for patients with dementia-related behaviors.

The study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of current treatments for these behaviors and provide physicians with an evidence-based assessment of treatment options. The researchers analyzed data from studies evaluating more than 15 drugs that are commonly prescribed for dementia symptoms, including antipsychotics, antidepressants and mood stabilizers. They found that two drugs (risperidone and olanzapine) in a class known as atypical antipsychotics have the best evidence for effectiveness.

"However, the effects are modest and are complicated by an increased risk of stroke," the authors write. "Physicians considering prescribing these drugs should discuss the potential risks and benefits with patients and their caregivers."

Because federal expenditures for dementia are expected to triple in the next 10 years, the authors said it is essential to find more effective treatments. They said non-drug therapies should always be considered first, and that some small studies have shown that music therapy, aromatherapy, pet therapy and caregiver education may be effective.

"Larger, well-designed controlled trials of non-drug interventions are needed," said Sink, an assistant professor of internal medicine – geriatrics.

The authors said that additional studies of drug therapy are also needed and that a large multi-center center study now under way to compare four atypical antipsychotic drugs will be particularly valuable.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "No Magic Pill For Treating Dementia Symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205130408.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2005, February 10). No Magic Pill For Treating Dementia Symptoms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205130408.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "No Magic Pill For Treating Dementia Symptoms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050205130408.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins