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      Effectiveness of Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease

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          Abstract

          Second-generation (atypical) antipsychotic drugs are widely used to treat psychosis, aggression, and agitation in patients with Alzheimer's disease, but their benefits are uncertain and concerns about safety have emerged. We assessed the effectiveness of atypical antipsychotic drugs in outpatients with Alzheimer's disease. In this 42-site, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 421 outpatients with Alzheimer's disease and psychosis, aggression, or agitation were randomly assigned to receive olanzapine (mean dose, 5.5 mg per day), quetiapine (mean dose, 56.5 mg per day), risperidone (mean dose, 1.0 mg per day), or placebo. Doses were adjusted as needed, and patients were followed for up to 36 weeks. The main outcomes were the time from initial treatment to the discontinuation of treatment for any reason and the number of patients with at least minimal improvement on the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) scale at 12 weeks. There were no significant differences among treatments with regard to the time to the discontinuation of treatment for any reason: olanzapine (median, 8.1 weeks), quetiapine (median, 5.3 weeks), risperidone (median, 7.4 weeks), and placebo (median, 8.0 weeks) (P=0.52). The median time to the discontinuation of treatment due to a lack of efficacy favored olanzapine (22.1 weeks) and risperidone (26.7 weeks) as compared with quetiapine (9.1 weeks) and placebo (9.0 weeks) (P=0.002). The time to the discontinuation of treatment due to adverse events or intolerability favored placebo. Overall, 24% of patients who received olanzapine, 16% of patients who received quetiapine, 18% of patients who received risperidone, and 5% of patients who received placebo discontinued their assigned treatment owing to intolerability (P=0.009). No significant differences were noted among the groups with regard to improvement on the CGIC scale. Improvement was observed in 32% of patients assigned to olanzapine, 26% of patients assigned to quetiapine, 29% of patients assigned to risperidone, and 21% of patients assigned to placebo (P=0.22). Adverse effects offset advantages in the efficacy of atypical antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of psychosis, aggression, or agitation in patients with Alzheimer's disease. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00015548 [ClinicalTrials.gov].). Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.

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          Most cited references 23

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          “Mini-mental state”

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            Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group* under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease

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              The Neuropsychiatric Inventory: comprehensive assessment of psychopathology in dementia.

              We developed a new instrument, the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), to assess 10 behavioral disturbances occurring in dementia patients: delusions, hallucinations, dysphoria, anxiety, agitation/aggression, euphoria, disinhibition, irritability/lability, apathy, and aberrant motor activity. The NPI uses a screening strategy to minimize administration time, examining and scoring only those behavioral domains with positive responses to screening questions. Both the frequency and the severity of each behavior are determined. Information for the NPI is obtained from a caregiver familiar with the patient's behavior. Studies reported here demonstrate the content and concurrent validity as well as between-rater, test-retest, and internal consistency reliability; the instrument is both valid and reliable. The NPI has the advantages of evaluating a wider range of psychopathology than existing instruments, soliciting information that may distinguish among different etiologies of dementia, differentiating between severity and frequency of behavioral changes, and minimizing administration time.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                October 12 2006
                October 12 2006
                : 355
                : 15
                : 1525-1538
                10.1056/NEJMoa061240
                17035647
                © 2006
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