[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There have been increasing concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of neuroleptics in people with dementia, but there are very few long-term trials to inform clinical practice. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of long-term treatment with neuroleptic agents upon global cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with Alzheimer disease.
Design: Randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled parallel two-group treatment discontinuation trial. Setting: Oxfordshire, Newcastle and Gateshead, London and Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Participants: Patients currently prescribed the neuroleptics thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol trifluoperazine or risperidone for behavioural or psychiatric disturbance in dementia for at least 3 mo. Interventions: Continue neuroleptic treatment for 12 mo or switch to an identical placebo. Outcome measures: Primary outcome was total Severe Impairment Battery (SIB) score. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were evaluated with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Results: 165 patients were randomised (83 to continue treatment and 82 to placebo, i.e., discontinue treatment), of whom 128 (78%) commenced treatment (64 continue/64 placebo). Of those, 26 were lost to follow-up (13 per arm), resulting in 51 patients per arm analysed for the primary outcome. There was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups in the estimated mean change in SIB scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring placebo) -0.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] -6.4 to 5.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.9). For neuropsychiatric symptoms, there was no significant difference between the continue treatment and placebo groups (n = 56 and 53, respectively) in the estimated mean change in NPI scores between baseline and 6 mo; estimated mean difference in deterioration (favouring continue treatment) -2.4 (95% CI -8.2 to 3.5), adjusted for baseline value (p = 0.4). Both results became more pronounced at 12 mo. There was some evidence to suggest that those patients with initial NPI >/= 15 benefited on neuropsychiatric symptoms from continuing treatment.
For most patients with AD, withdrawal of neuroleptics had no overall detrimental effect on functional and cognitive status. Neuroleptics may have some value in the maintenance treatment of more severe neuropsychiatric symptoms, but this benefit must be weighed against the side effects of therapy. Trial registration: Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials/National Research Register (#ISRCTN33368770).
PLoS Medicine 05/2008; 5(4):e76. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050076 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although few placebo-controlled neuroleptic discontinuation studies have been conducted in people with dementia, such studies are essential to inform key clinical decisions.
A 3-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled, neuroleptic discontinuation study (June 2000 to June 2002) was completed in 100 care-facility residents with probable or possible Alzheimer's disease (according to National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Diseases and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria) who had no severe behavioral disturbances and had been taking neuroleptics for longer than 3 months. The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) was used to measure changes in behavioral and psychiatric symptoms. Quality of life was evaluated using Dementia Care Mapping.
Eighty-two patients completed the 1-month assessment (36 placebo, 46 active). The number of participants withdrawing overall (N = 14 [30%] placebo, N = 14 [26%] active treatment) and because of exacerbation of behavioral symptoms (N = 6 [13%] placebo, N = 5 [9%] active treatment) was similar in the neuroleptic- and placebo-treated patients. As hypothesized, patients with baseline NPI scores at or below the median (< or = 14) had a particularly good outcome, with a significantly greater reduction of agitation in the patients receiving placebo (Mann-Whitney U test, z = 2.4, p =.018), while patients with higher baseline NPI scores were significantly more likely to develop marked behavioral problems if discontinued from neuroleptics (chi(2) = 6.8, p =.009). There was no overall difference in the change of quality of life parameters between groups.
A standardized evaluation with an instrument such as the NPI may be a clinical indicator of which people with dementia are likely to benefit from discontinuation of neuroleptic treatment.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 01/2004; 65(1):114-9. DOI:10.4088/JCP.v65n0120 · 5.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The quality of care and overuse of neuroleptic medication in care environments are major issues in the care of elderly people with dementia.
The quality of care (Dementia Care Mapping), the severity of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms (BPSD--Neuropsychiatric Inventory), expressive language skills (Sheffield Acquired Language Disorder scale), service utilization and use of neuroleptic drugs was compared over 9 months between six care facilities receiving a psychiatric liaison service and three facilities receiving the usual clinical support, using a single blind design.
There was a significant reduction in neuroleptic usage in the facilities receiving the liaison service (McNemar test p<0.0001), but not amongst those receiving standard clinical support (McNemar test p=0.07). There were also significantly less GP contacts (t=3.9 p=0.0001) for residents in the facilities receiving the liaison service, and a three fold reduction in psychiatric in-patient bed usage (Bed days per person 0.6 vs. 1.5). Residents in care facilities receiving the liaison service experienced significantly less deterioration in expressive language skills (t=2.2 p=0.03), but there were no significant differences in BPSD or wellbeing.
A resource efficient psychiatric liaison service can reduce neuroleptic drug use and reduce some aspects of health service utilization; but a more extensive intervention is probably required to improve the overall quality of care.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 02/2002; 17(2):140-5. DOI:10.1002/gps.543 · 2.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many people with dementia reside in care facilities. Little is known about how key parameters impact upon their quality of life (QOL). All 209 people with dementia in six facilities received a standardized assessment (Neuropsychiatric Inventory [NPI], Barthel Scale, psychotropic drugs). One hundred twelve residents were assessed using Dementia Care Mapping, an observational method for QOL indices. Lower performance on activities of daily living (reduced well-being [WB] r = +0.39, p < .0001; social withdrawal [SW] r = +0.42, p < .0001; engagement in activities [EA] r = +0.31, p = .001) and taking psychotropics (WB 2.5 vs. 3.2, t = 2.3, p = .02; SW 11.4% vs. 2.7%, t = 3.0, p = .004; EA 56.5% vs. 71.9%; t = 3.5, p = .001) were associated with reduced QOL, but symptoms from the NPI were not. More focused prescribing of psychotropics and better staff training are essential.
International Psychogeriatrics 03/2001; 13(1):93-106. DOI:10.1017/S1041610201007499 · 1.93 Impact Factor