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Dementia Medication Overview (cont.)

Treatment for Coexisting Behavioral Changes

  • Antipsychotic drugs: Haloperidol (Haldol), risperidone (Risperdal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and quetiapine (Seroquel) are frequently prescribed to help manage psychosis and agitation. Treatment of dementia-associated psychosis or agitation is intended to decrease psychotic symptoms (for example, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations), screaming, combativeness, and/or violence. The therapeutic goal is increased comfort and safety of patients, families, and caregivers.
  • Antidepressant drugs: Depression is frequently associated with dementia and generally worsens the degree of cognitive and behavioral impairment.
  • Antianxiety drugs: Many patients with dementia experience anxiety symptoms. Although benzodiazepines like diazepam (Valium) have been used for treating anxiety in other situations, they are often avoided because they may increase agitation in persons with dementia or are too sedating. Buspirone (Buspar) is often initially tried for mild-to-moderate anxiety.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/23/2014
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