Use of drugs by Old Age Psychiatrists in the treatment of psychotic and behavioural symptoms in patients with dementia

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Abstract:

The objective was to elicit the prescribing practises of Old Age Psychiatrists in the UK in the treatment of psychotic and behavioural symptoms in patients with dementia. A structured questionnaire was sent to all Old Age Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom. Respondents were questioned regarding their use of both typical and atypical antipsychotics and the most common dosages prescribed. Information was sought about usage of depot medication and dosages; use of alternative or adjunctive medications to antipsychotics and use of parenteral medication for acute management of agitation. The most commonly used antipsychotic to treat psychotic symptoms was haloperidol, and thioridazine to treat behavioural symptoms. A wide range of dosages was used. Use of depot medication was common, with flupenthixol decanoate being the most frequently used. Most respondents use at least one of the atypical antipsychotics, risperidone being most popular. Use of other psychotropic medication used as alternatives to antipsychotics or adjunctives in the treatment of behavioural symptoms was common, the most popular being trazodone. Of the respondents, 62.7% use parenteral medication for the acute management of agitation, the most popular drug being haloperidol. The typical antipsychotics are still the most commonly used despite the reputed better safety profile of the atypicals. There was wide variation in the dosages prescribed. Use of psychotropics other than phenothiazines was common. More research is needed into the use of psychotropic medication for dementia and there is need for consensus in this area. Forming an expert group may be the best way to create uniformity of prescription.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607860120064961

Affiliations: 1: Registrar, St. Vincent's Hospital, Eastern Health Board & St. John of God Hospital, Dublin, Ireland 2: Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, St. Vincent's Hospital, Eastern Health Board & St. John of God Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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