Effectiveness of typical and atypical neuroleptics in the control of behavioral and psychopathological symptoms of dementia. Results of a retrospective study

Manuel Martín Carrasco, J. Ballesteros, A. Bulbena, G. Baraibar, C. García, L. Mínguez, J. Blanco, J. De Blas, J. A. Agüero, N. Ibarra

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    Abstract

    Introduction. Presence of disruptive behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) is highly prevalent and, as a consequence, neuroleptics are frequently used in these patients to control BPSD. Several reviews have shown the clinical equivalence of different classes of neuroleptics in BPSD control, although that equivalence has been only indirectly assessed by comparing the combined results of different types of active drugs versus placebo. Thus, little is known on the comparative effectiveness, head to head, of different neuroleptics on BPSD. The aim of this study was to gather preliminary information on the effectiveness of typical (haloperidol, thioridazine) and atypical (olanzapine, risperidone) neuroleptics on BPSD. Methods. Multicenter, observational and retrospective study using chart reviews of patients with dementia to assess neuroleptic prescriptions and clinical outcomes at 12 weeks on treatment. Results. No significant differences on BPSD improvement were found by type of neuroleptic (n = 78; Kruskal-Wallis exact test; p = 0.47). There also were no differences by neuroleptics when the analysis was stratified by levels of cognitive decline (Kruskal-Wallis exact test; p = 0.86 and 0.87 for moderate and severe levels of deterioration, respectively). Recorded side effects were worse in the haloperidol group (n = 19) regarding rigidity (Fisher's exact; p = 0.01), tremor (Fisher's exact; p = 0.03) and akathisia (Fisher's exact; p = 0.03). Conclusions. Our findings support the equivalence in effectiveness of several classes of neuroleptics commonly used to treat BPSD. Nevertheless these results need to be confirmed by adequately powered randomized trials and further pharmacoepidemiological studies to assess their safety.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-256
    JournalActas Espanolas de Psiquiatria
    Volume34
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006

    Keywords

    • Antipsychotics
    • Behavioural and psychological symptoms
    • BPSD
    • Dementia
    • Neuroleptics

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