Explain the risks and benefits of antipsychotic medication for individuals with dementia
Memory impairment and other cognitive disturbances characterize dementia, but other noncognitive behavioral and psychiatric symptoms are very common. [ The most important behavioral and psychiatric symptoms associated with dementia (BPSAD) are agitation, aggression, and psychosis, and they have serious consequences for patients and caregivers. No medication has been approved for the treatment of
BPSAD, but antipsychotic drugs are the best studied and most commonly used. However, in addition to these drugs' expected side effects, cerebrovascular adverse events and death are two serious adverse effects associated with their use in dementia patients. This article highlights the studies examining the risks and benefits of antipsychotic drugs for BPSAD. Weighing small but significant risks compared with possible benefits is a complex treatment decision.
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