Current Neuropharmacology, 2008, 6, 117-124117
1570-159X/08 $55.00+.00 ©2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
Antipsychotics for the Treatment of Behavioral and Psychological
Symptomsof Dementia (BPSD)
Rosa Liperoti1, Claudio Pedone2 andAndrea Corsonello3,4,*
1Centro di Medicina dell'Invecchiamento, Dipartimento di Scienze Gerontologiche, Geriatriche e Fisiatriche, Università
Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Largo A. Gemelli, I-00168 Rome, Italy; 2Area di Geriatria, Università Campus BioMedico,
Via dei Compositori, I-00100 Rome, Italy; 3Fondazione San Raffaele, Cittadella della Carità, I-74100 Taranto, Italy;
4Istituto Nazionale di Ricovero e Cura per Anziani (INRCA), I-87100 Cosenza, Italy
Abstract: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), i.e. verbal and physical aggression, agitation,
psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions), sleep disturbances, oppositional behavior, and wandering, are a com-
mon and potentially severe problem complicating dementia. Their prevalence is very high and it is estimated that up to
90% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may present at least one BPSD. Beside the obvious impact on the quality
of life of people with dementia, BPSD are responsible for increased risk of patient institutionalization and increased costs.
Furthermore, they are associated with caregivers’ stress and depression. Drugs used include antipsychotics, antidepres-
sants, anticonvulsivants, anxiolytics, cholinesterase inhibitors and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor modulators. Among
these, the most commonly used are anti-psychotics. These drugs have been used for many decades, but in the last years
new compounds have been marketed with the promise of comparable efficacy but less frequent adverse effects (especially
extra-pyramidal side effects). Their safety, however, has been challenged by data showing a potential increase in adverse
cerebrovascular side effects and mortality. This review will summarize the pathophysiology and neuropharmacology of
BPSD, it will describe the characteristics of the anti-psychotics most commonly used focusing on their efficacy and safety
Key Words: Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), dementia, antipsychotics.
cal practice given the growth of elderly populations in the
last decades . While the hallmark of all dementia syn-
dromes is the decline of varying cognitive abilities, cognitive
impairment should not be considered the only important
symptomatology present in dementia. The term "behavioural
and psychological symptoms of dementia" (BPSD) describes
a wide spectrum of non-cognitive manifestations of demen-
tia, including verbal and physical aggression, agitation, psy-
chotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions), sleep dis-
turbances, oppositional behavior, and wandering [7, 18].
Dementia is one of the most important problems in clini-
tients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may present at least
one of these symptoms, and it can be estimated that about
one-third of AD patients have severe problems [10, 16, 45,
61, 62]. Agitation, aggressiveness, wandering, oppositional
behaviour and psychotic disorders are present in about 10-
50% of patients with AD, with a considerable impact on the
functional status [8, 9, 14, 25, 26, 45, 54]. Indeed, these
symptoms are very invasive and difficult to manage by the
caregivers and the care teams [14, 16, 61].
BPSD are very frequent in dementia: up to 90% of pa-
but these symptoms are also present in dementia syndromes
other than AD, such as dementia with Lewy bodies or fronto-
temporal lobar degeneration [63, 68], where they may appear
also in the early stages. Thus, the course of BPSD differ ac-
cording to the type of dementia [11, 20, 55]. Finally, the ap-
BPSD may not be obvious during the early stages of AD,
*Address correspondence to this author at Via della Resistenza Pal. Alfa
Scala H, I-87036 Rende (CS), Italy; Tel: +39 0984 46 18 72; Fax: +39 0984
46 18 72; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
pearance of psychotic symptoms is a relevant risk factor for
the development of aggressive behaviour and agitation, and
is associated with a poorer functional prognosis [20, 54].
any dementia syndrome represents a major management
problem for both physicians and caregivers, and the evolu-
tion of these symptoms is the major reason for caregiver
“burnout” and patient institutionalization, with an enormous
increase in medical and indirect costs, and with a frequent
decrease in quality of life for the patient and the caregiver [7,
Anyway, the appearance of BPSD during the evolution of
clarified, and this certainly contributes to limit the pharma-
cological approach to BPSD. Nonetheless, it is conceivable
that several factors including neurobiological, physical and
environmental components are likely to be involved . We
will focus on the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying
BPSD and the neuropharmacology of drugs used for the
treatment of these symptoms, and we will also discuss the
available evidence regarding the efficacy and the safety of
conventional and atypical antipsychotics in patients with
The etiology of these symptoms is yet to be definitely
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF BPSD
AD derives from identifiable anatomical and biochemical
abnormalities. Given the wide array of psychopathologic
symptoms in AD, however, it is unlikely that lesions of spe-
cific brain structure is related with a specific BPSD. Fur-
thermore, it is likely that baseline psychological factors are
involved along with biological factors in the appearance of
behavioural problems , although a retrospective bias can
be in part responsible for the observed associations .
There is convincing evidence that the origin of BPSD in
118 Current Neuropharmacology, 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2 Liperoti et al.
a risk factor for the development of BPSD. For example, a
relationship between presenilin 1 and psychosis has been
demostrated . An association has also been shown be-
tween polymorphism of serotonin receptors genes (5HT2A
102-T/C and 5HT2C Cys23Ser) and visual and auditory hal-
lucinations, with the two polymorphisms having an additive
effect on visual hallucinations . Polymorphism of the
dopamine receptors genes is also involved: in 275 outpa-
tients with probable AD, homozygous for DRD1 allele B1
and homozygous for either DRD3 allele were both associ-
ated with psychosis .
Genetic studies show that chromosomal abnormalities are
promoter region (L/L genotype) has been implicated with
aggressive behaviour in patients with AD . The same
genotype seems to be associate with a distinctive phenotype
characterized by psychotic symptoms and aggressive behav-
A genetic polymorphism of the serotonin transporter
tangles (NFT), exhibit a characteristic distribution pattern
that is correlated with dementia stage. In the earlier stages,
there is an invasion from the enthorinal cortex to the hippo-
campus, while in more advanced stages there also is an in-
volvement of the neo-cortex . While “negative” psychi-
atric symptoms (such as depression) can be evident even
before a diagnosis of AD is made, “positive” symptoms (agi-
tation, aggressive behaviour) appear usually at later stages of
dementia, after the appearance of cognitive abnormalities
and presumably when the neo-cortex is invaded by NFT
The typical pathologic lesions of AD, neurofibrillary
flect involvement of different cerebral areas. It has been
shown that people with AD who develop psychosis have a
2.3-fold greater density of NFT in the neo-cortex (middle
frontal, anterior third of the superior temporal, inferior parie-
tal) compared to AD patients who will not develop psychosis
. Neurofunctional imaging studies have shown that psy-
chosis in probable AD is associated with a reduction in pre-
frontal, left frontal-temporal, and right parietal metabolism
[61,82]. These evidences, however, come from studies with
very small sample size.
As can be expected, different behavioural problems re-
close relative has been replaced by some other person having
the same appearance) have been found to be correlated with
lower neurone count in the CA1 area of the hippocampus; in
the same study a lower neurone count in the dorsal raphe was
associated with delusions and hallucinations .
Delusional misidentification (such as the belief that a
bito-frontal cortex of AD patients with agitation , while
single-photon emission CT demonstrated hypoperfusion of
the left anterior temporal cortex in AD patients showing ag-
gressive behaviour . Also in non-AD dementia, there
seems to be an association between location of pathologic
lesions and behavioural problems. In Lewy’s disease, for
instance, it has been shown that there is a strong association
between the density of Lewy’s bodies in the amygdala and
parahyppocampal cortex and the presence of severe visual
Higher NFT concentration has been reported in the or-
PHARMACOLOGY OF ANTIPSYCHOTICS
genesis of BPSD, different neurotransmitters have been
found to be implicated in these disturbances (acetylcholine,
dopamine, serotonine). Most pharmacologic treatment for
BPSD are based else on drugs increasing the activity of these
neurotransmitters (acetylcholine), or by decreasing or modu-
lating it (dopamine, serotonine).
As different cerebral regions are involved in the patho-
dementia have been the so-called “conventional” or first-
generation antipsychotics, that have been used since the ‘50s.
There are three principal chemical classes of these drugs
(phenotiazines, butyrophenones and thioxanthenes), and all
of them share high affinity for the D2 dopamine receptor.
The efficacy of these drugs is strictly correlated with the
occupancy rate of D2 receptors: a PET study demonstrated
that D2 occupancy predicted the clinical response to halop-
eridol, and that a threshold of 65% occupancy rate provided
a good separation between responders and non-responders
. These results are consistent with others obtained with a
different antipsychotic drug (raclopride) . The occupancy
of D2 receptors in the basal ganglia is also correlated with
extra-pyramidal effects of these drugs [30, 70], as well as to
other side effects such as hyperprolactinemia . First-
generation anti-psychotics have been also shown to block D2
receptors in the limbic cortical areas, and this activity seems
to be most important in treating psychotic symptoms .
For decades, the mainstay of treatment for psychosis in
because they seem to induce extra-pyramidal effects less
frequently and because they seem to have therapeutic effi-
cacy in patients who do not respond to first-generation anti-
Newer anti-psychotic drugs have been dubbed “atypical”
agents. Its pharmacodynamic profile includes low affinity for
both D1 and D2 dopamine receptors, along with high affinity
for D4 dopamine receptor and serotonine receptors (5HT2
and 3) . It also has an anti-glutamatergic action , as
well as alpha-2 receptor affinity and M1 cholinergic receptor
blocking activity . Dopamine receptors block by clozap-
ine is evident especially in the mesolimbic, but not in the
nigro-striatal system , and this can in part account for the
low incidence of extrapyramidal side effects.
Clozapine is the prototype of this newer anti-psychotic
toms observed with second-generation anti-psychotic drugs
have been explained with their high 5HT2/D2 activity .
More recently, the fast dissociation of “atypical” anti-
psychotics from the D2 receptor compared to older drugs has
been proposed as the mechanism by which these drug have
an anti-psychotic effect without extra-pyramidal effects or
prolactine elevation . Despite its seemingly optimal
pharmacological profile, use of clozapine is not widespread
because a consistent risk of agranulocytosis.
Enhanced efficacy and reduced extra-pyramidal symp-
chotic because of its 5HT2/D2 affinity ratio. However, it has
been shown a similar proportion of D2 receptors occupied by
risperidone and haloperidol . Olanzapine was introduced
shortly after risperidone, and has a pharmacologic profile
similar to clozapine . Quetiapine was the fourth “atypi-
Risperidone has been marketed as an atypical antipsy-
Antipsychotics for the Treatment Current Neuropharmacology, 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2 119
cal” anti-psychotic marketed, it has a chemical structure and
multi-receptor activity similar to clozapine , and acts
selectively in the limbic system . Ziprasidone, although
structurally different from other antipsychotics, also shows a
high 5HT/D2 ratio, although its affinity for D2 receptors is
tive antagonistis of dopamine at the D2 and D3 receptors
with a preferential limbic activity. Besides this post-synaptic
actions, it has been shown to antagonize the pre-synaptic
receptors that modulate dopamine release .
Benzamides (sulpiride and amisulpiride) are highly selec-
mechanism of action that is different from both first and sec-
ond generation antipsychotics. It acts as a partial agonist at
the D2 and 5HT1A receptors and as an antagonist at the
5HT2A receptor, and is considered a “stabilizer” of the do-
pamine/serotonin system .
Aripiprazole is a newer antipsychotic agent with a
EFFICACY OF ANTIPSYCHOTICS
1950s mainly for the treatment of schizophrenia. Since then,
these agents have been systematically used for the treatment
of BPSD in spite of a substantial lack of scientific evidence
supporting their use in dementia. Few trials investigating the
efficacy of conventional agents for the treatment of BPSD
have been conducted between the 1960s and the late 1980s
[6, 60, 75]. These studies mainly focused on the effect of
haloperidol and thioridazine. They were characterized by
small sample sizes and possible lack of power. Data from
these early studies showed a modest advantage of conven-
tional antipsychotics over placebo with a nearly 40% placebo
response, and only 18% benefit over placebo in the meta-
analysis by Schneider et al. . Also, according to some of
these studies, the observed superiority of conventional antip-
sychotics over placebo would be limited to symptoms of
aggression and it would be absent in other behavioural and
psychotic symptoms .
Conventional antipsychotics have been approved in the
and approved by The US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) exclusively for the treatment of schizophrenia. Rap-
idly after their introduction in clinical practice, these medica-
tions have become the new standard of care for BPSD due to
their reported advantages over conventional agents, particu-
larly with respect to extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) and
tardive diskinesia [19, 35, 68]. Over the last decade, the off-
label use of atypical antipsychotics in dementia has been
promoted by clinical practice guidelines although the limited
number of clinical trials suggesting the efficacy of these
agents in dementia [2, 37]. In the late 1990s, atypical agents
accounted for more than 80% of antipsychotic prescriptions
in dementia [37, 59]. To date 22 randomized placebo-
controlled trials have investigated the efficacy of atypical
antipsychotics for the treatment of BPSD. Only eleven of
these studies have been published in full at the time of com-
pletion of this review (Table 1). No data from double blind
randomized clinical trials on patients with dementia are
available for amisulpride, clozapine, sertindole, ziprasidone
Atypical antipsychotics have been licensed in the 1990s
beneficial on psychotic symptoms and aggression at doses of
Compared to placebo, risperidone has been shown to be
1 mg and 2 mg per day in three placebo controlled clinical
trials [13, 23, 52]. These studies were conducted on patients
with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or mixed de-
mentia on a 12 weeks time-period.
improving behavioural symptoms, psychosis and aggression
at 5 to 10 mg per day dose compared with placebo [22, 80].
This evidence derives from two randomized placebo-
controlled clinical trials conducted among patients with de-
mentia for a 10 week and 6 week period of time respectively
[22, 80]. In contrast with these data, a recent study on pa-
tients with moderate to severe psychotic symptoms of de-
mentia randomly assigned to receive a flexible dose of olan-
zapine (2.5-10.g per day), risperidone (0.5-2 mg per day) or
placebo demonstrated similar improvement of BPSD in the
three treatment groups with higher discontinuation rate due
to adverse events in the olanzapine and risperidone groups
Olanzapine has been shown significantly effective for
trolled study has shown that quetiapine at a fixed dose of 200
mg per day is effective and well tolerated for treating agita-
tion in institutionalized patients with dementia . Also,
one published study involving a small number of patients
with dementia has demonstrated no effect of quetiapine or
rivastigmine on improving clinically significant agitation and
an increased cognitive decline associated with the use of
quetiapine . Finally, a small double-blind, placebo-con-
trolled, randomized study has shown no significant differ-
ence between quetiapine and placebo in terms of efficacy on
controlling agitation and psychosis among patients with de-
mentia and parkinsonism . In this study quetiapine was
well tolerated and did not worse parkinsonism. As pointed
out by the authors of this study, lack of power and a large
placebo effect may have contributed to the resulted lack of
Very recently, a 10-week, double- blind, placebo con-
clinical trial has investigated the efficacy and safety of
aripiprazole in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and psy-
chosis . According to this 10-week study, aripiprazole at
a mean dose of 10 mg per day appeared to confer no benefit
over placebo for controlling delusions and hallucinations and
it was well tolerated.
A single double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled
CATIE-AD (Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention
Effectiveness-Alzheimer’s Disease), have been published.
According to this multicenter, double-blind, placebo-con-
trolled trial on outpatients with Alzheimer’s disease and psy-
chosis, aggression or agitation, the effect of olanzapine
(mean dose 5.5 mg per day) and risperidone (mean dose 1.0
mg per day) in treating neuropsychiatric symptoms was
equally beneficial and superior to the effect of placebo and
quetiapine (mean dose 56.5 mg per day) . However,
these benefits were evident only among those patients who
tolerated these medications and did not discontinue them due
to side effects. Similar rates of treatment discontinuation
were reported in the different study groups. However, pa-
tients on antipsychotics discontinued mostly because of ad-
verse effects while patients on placebo discontinued mostly
because of lack of efficacy. According to authors’ conclu-
Very recently, the results of a large effectiveness trial, the
120 Current Neuropharmacology, 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2 Liperoti et al.
sions potential side effect associated with antipsychotic
medications in dementia may outweigh possible benefits.
double blind, placebo-controlled trials has been conducted
by Ballard and White for the Cochrane collaboration to de-
termine the effectiveness of atypical antipsychotics for the
treatment of psychiatric and behavioural symptoms in Alz-
heimer’s disease . The authors analyzed sixteen placebo-
controlled trials among which only six studies were pub-
lished in full in peer reviewed journals. According to the
Cochrane authors, evidence suggests that both risperidone
and olanzapine may reduce aggression and risperidone may
also reduce psychosis compared to placebo. However, an
increased risk of extrapyramidal symptoms and adverse
cerebrovascular events associated with atypical antipsychot-
ics would outweigh the modest effectiveness of these medi-
cations. According to Cochrane findings, due to the in-
creased risk of adverse effects, the use of atypical antipsy-
A comprehensive review of the available randomized,
chotics in clinical practice would not be suitable and should
be limited to those patients presenting with significant dis-
tress and risk associated with symptoms.
SAFETY OF ANTIPSYCHOTICS
atypical antipsychotics have been reported to be character-
ized by a better safety profile compared to conventional
medications, especially with respect to extrapyramidal symp-
toms such as parkinsonism and tardive diskinesia. Data from
clinical trials substantially confirm the superior EPS profile
of atypical over conventional antipsychotics [13, 22, 23, 52,
80]. Risperidone at dose of 1 mg per day has been proven to
cause less EPS compared with placebo and haloperidol [13,
23, 52]. However, this relative benefit of risperidone relative
to haloperidol disappeared at dosages of 2 mg per day or
higher . In two randomized trials of olanzapine there was
no increased incidence of EPS in the olanzapine groups (at
At the time of their introduction in clinical practice,
Table 1. Published Randomized Clinical Trials of Atypical Antipsychotics among Patients with BPSD
Trial Intervention Daily Dose Population Setting Duration
Katz, 1999 risperidone vs placebo Fixed, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 mg N=625;
AD, VaD, mixed
De Deyn 1999
risperidone vs haloperidol
Flexible, mean risperidone
1.1 mg, mean haloperidol
AD, VaD, mixed
risperidone vs placebo Flexible, mean 0.95 mg N=309;
AD, VaD, mixed
Street, 2000 olanzapine vs placebo Fixed, 5.0, 10.0 or 15.0 mg N=206; AD
De Deyn, 2004
olanzapine vs placebo
Fixed, 1.0, 2.5, 5.0 or 7.5
olanzapine vs placebo vs
Flexible, mean olanzapine
5.2 mg, mean risperidone
N=298; AD, VaD,
10 NPI, CGI
quetiapine vs rivastigmine
Flexible, range quetiapine
N=93 ; AD
De Deyn, 2005
aripiprazole vs placebo Fixed, 5, 10 or 15 mg N=208; AD Outpatient 10 NPI, BPRS
olanzapine vs quetiapine
vs risperidone vs placebo
Flexible, mean olanzapine
5.5 mg, mean quetiapine
56.5 mg, mean risperidone
N=421; AD Outpatient 36
Time from initial
treatment to dis-
quetiapine vs. placebo Fixed, 100 or 200 mg N=333; AD
quetiapine vs. placebo Flexible, mean 120 mg
N=40; DLB, PD,
Outpatient 10 BPRS
Abbreviations: AD= Alzheimer’s disease; VaD=Vascular dementia; DLB=Dementia with Lewy Bodies; PD= Parkinson disease with dementia; BEHAVE-AD=Behavioral Pathol-
ogy in Alzheimer’s disease rating scale; CMAI= Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory; CGI=Clinical Global Impression; NPI= Neuropsychiatric Inventory; NPI-
NH=Neuropsychiatric Inventory –nursing home version; SIB= severe impairment battery; BPRS= Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale; CGIC=Clinical Global Impression of Change;
PANSS-EC= positive and negative syndrome scale-excitement component.
Antipsychotics for the Treatment Current Neuropharmacology, 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2 121
doses of 5 to 15 mg per day) compared with the placebo
group. Observational data supported findings from clinical
trials [22, 80]. Overall, the available evidence suggests that
in dementia patients EPS are less frequently associated with
atypical antipsychotics relative to conventional agents. How-
ever, parkinsonism and tardive diskinesia may be caused by
atypical antipsychotics, especially at high dosages.
risk of cerebrovascular events (CVEs) and death among pa-
tients with dementia being treated with risperidone or olan-
zapine have been issued by drugs’ manufacturers and health
regulatory agencies worldwide [31, 41, 87, 88]. These con-
cerns arose from the revision of both published and unpub-
lished clinical trials on atypical antipsychotics among pa-
tients with dementia. According to the results of these analy-
ses, risperidone was associated with a nearly 3-fold increase
in the risk of CVEs in dementia patients . The risk asso-
ciated with risperidone did not differ from the risk associated
with placebo when serious CVEs including death, life threat-
ening or leading to permanent disability events were consid-
ered. Also, a nearly 2-fold increase in the risk of CVEs asso-
ciated with olanzapine was calculated but this estimate did
not reach statistical significance . More recently, a meta-
analysis of 15 randomized clinical trials on patients with
dementia being treated with atypical antipsychotics reported
a 65% increased all cause mortality associated with atypical
antipsychotics compared with placebo . In spite of this
growing evidence from clinical trials, data from several large
observational studies failed to support the conclusion of a
possible increased risk of CVEs and death associated with
atypical antipsychotics [36, 42, 57]. Moreover, a recent large
retrospective cohort study suggested that conventional antip-
sychotics may indeed carry a nearly 40% excess risk of death
compared with atypical agents and therefore they would not
represent a valid alternative to atypical compounds for the
treatment of BPSD . According to the available evi-
dence, in April 2005, the FDA has issued a public health
advisory to warn about a possible increased risk of death
associated with atypical antipsychotics . The FDA has
asked manufacturers of these drugs to include a boxed warn-
ing in their labeling describing the risk and has reminded that
atypical antipsychotics have not been approved for dementia
which represents an off-label indication. The FDA has also
anticipated a possible future extension of this warning to
Beginning in 2002, warnings about a possible increased
with dementia has been linked to some risk of lengthening of
QTc interval at EKG [40, 78]. However, data available have
suggested that atypical antipsychotics may not increase the
risk of clinical outcomes related to QTc prolongation, includ-
ing ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death and with re-
spect to cardiac toxicity they may be safer than conventional
medications [57, 71].
Treatment with atypical antipsychotics among patients
metabolic adverse effects such as diabetes, hyperlipidaemia
and weight gain among young and adult patients with
schizophrenia . In particular, the risk of weight gain,
diabetes and hyperlipidaemia has been reported high for clo-
zapine and olanzapine, moderately high for quetiapine and
Atypical antipsychotics are known to cause a spectrum of
low for risperidone. To date, there is little evidence that pa-
tients with dementia being treated with atypical antipsychot-
ics may experience such metabolic effects [13, 22, 23, 52,
80]. Also no data are available to investigate the extent to
which such metabolic disturbances may contribute to the
possible cardiovascular toxicity associated with atypical an-
geriatric population. To date, limited evidence supports
available therapeutic strategies and current recommendations
mainly derive from consensus of experts [1, 7, 27]. Based on
safety considerations and in light of the high rates of pla-
cebo-response in clinical trials, non pharmacological ap-
proaches are generally recognized as the first-line strategy
for the treatment of BPSD. The pharmacological approach
based on the use of antipsychotic medications is recom-
mended for the short-term treatment (up to three months) and
among those patients who manifest severe symptoms that
may cause extreme distress and harm to patients or others.
Antipsychotic prescription is limited and strictly regulated in
many countries and BPSD are still an off-label indication for
most of these agents.
BPSD represent one of the main mental issues in the
cal and conventional medications should be based on a care-
ful evaluation of the potential benefits and risks of both
classes of antipsychotics as well as patients’ individual risk
profile. Physicians should evaluate each patient individually
and judge whether or not the magnitude of the potential risks
outweighs the benefits that can be expected from the use of
In clinical practice, the therapeutic choice between atypi-
tives to antipsychotics is also lacking. In the near future, re-
search efforts should be directed to investigate and identify
alternative therapeutic strategies which may combine non
pharmacological treatments with drug therapy and need to be
tailored to patients with dementia and their families.
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Received: March 27, 2007 Revised: October 19, 2007 Accepted: November 11, 2007