Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


No magic pill for treating dementia symptoms


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.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>