Article

Relapse Risk after Discontinuation of Risperidone in Alzheimer's Disease

Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York 10032, USA.
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 10/2012; 367(16):1497-507. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1114058
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Among patients with Alzheimer's disease who have had a response to antipsychotic medication for psychosis or agitation-aggression, the risk of a recurrence of symptoms after discontinuation of the medication has not been established.
Patients with Alzheimer's disease and psychosis or agitation-aggression received open-label treatment with risperidone for 16 weeks. Those who had a response to risperidone therapy were then randomly assigned, in a double-blind fashion, to one of three regimens: continued risperidone therapy for 32 weeks (group 1), risperidone therapy for 16 weeks followed by placebo for 16 weeks (group 2), or placebo for 32 weeks (group 3). The primary outcome was the time to relapse of psychosis or agitation.
A total of 180 patients received open-label risperidone (mean dose, 0.97 mg daily). The severity of psychosis and agitation were reduced, although there was a mild increase in extrapyramidal signs; 112 patients met the criteria for response to treatment, of whom 110 underwent randomization. In the first 16 weeks after randomization, the rate of relapse was higher in the group that received placebo than in the groups that received risperidone (60% [24 of 40 patients in group 3] vs. 33% [23 of 70 in groups 1 and 2]; P=0.004; hazard ratio with placebo, 1.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09 to 3.45; P=0.02). During the next 16 weeks, the rate of relapse was higher in the group that was switched from risperidone to placebo than in the group that continued to receive risperidone (48% [13 of 27 patients in group 2] vs. 15% [2 of 13 in group 1]; P=0.02; hazard ratio, 4.88; 95% CI, 1.08 to 21.98; P=0.02). The rates of adverse events and death after randomization did not differ significantly among the groups, although comparisons were based on small numbers of patients, especially during the final 16 weeks.
In patients with Alzheimer's disease who had psychosis or agitation that had responded to risperidone therapy for 4 to 8 months, discontinuation of risperidone was associated with an increased risk of relapse. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00417482.).

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Gregory H Pelton, Jan 28, 2014
  • Source
    • "Furthermore, emerging evidence is confirming what would intuitively be feared as a result of NPS under treatment. When previously helpful medications are withdrawn, NPS can resurface and quality of life can suffer [19] [20] [21]. Quality of life must also be protected by our ongoing efforts to identify and treat common problems contributing to NPS, such as delirium and pain [22]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Degenerative forms of dementia are progressive, incurable, fatal, and likely to cause suffering in conjunction with personal incapacity. Timely diagnostic disclosure and counseling can facilitate important advance care planning. The risk of harm associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) of dementia often has to be balanced against the risk of harm associated with medication management of NPS. A palliative care framework can help preserve autonomy, quality of life, comfort, and dignity for patients with NPS.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antipsychotic agents are often used to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in dementia, although the literature is sceptical about their long-termuse for this indication. Their effectiveness is limited and there is concern about adverse effects, including higher mortality with long-term use. When behavioural strategies have failed and drug therapy is instituted, regular attempts to withdraw these drugs are recommended. Physicians, nurses and families of older people with dementia are often reluctant to try to stop antipsychotics, fearing deterioration of NPS. Strategies to reduce antipsychotic use have been proposed, but a systematic review of interventions aimed at withdrawal of antipsychotic agents in older people with dementia has not yet been performed. Objectives : To evaluate whether withdrawal of antipsychotic agents is successful in older people with dementia in community or nursing home settings, to list the different strategies for withdrawal of antipsychotic agents in older people with dementia and NPS, and to measure the effects of withdrawal of antipsychotic agents on behaviour. Search methods : ALOIS, the Specialized Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group (CDCIG), The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LILACS, clinical trials registries and grey literature sources were searched on 23 November 2012. The search included the following terms: antipsychotic* or neuroleptic* or phenothiazines or butyrophenones or risperidone or olanzapine or haloperidol or prothipendyl or methotrimeprazine or clopenthixol or flupenthixol or clothiapine or metylperon or droperidol or pipamperone or benperidol or bromperidol or fluspirilene or pimozide or penfluridol or sulpiride or veralipride or levosulpiride or sultopride or aripiprazole or clozapine or quetiapine or thioridazine combined wither terms such as discontinu* or withdraw* or cessat* or reduce* or reducing or reduct* or taper* or stop*. ALOIS contains records from all major healthcare databases (The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LILACS), as well as from many clinical trials registries and grey literature sources. Selection criteria : Randomised, placebo-controlled trials comparing an antipsychotic withdrawal strategy to continuation of antipsychotics in people with dementia. Data collection and analysis : Review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, rated their risk of bias and extracted data. Main results : We included nine trials with 606 randomised participants. Seven trials were conducted in nursing homes, one trial in an outpatient setting and one in both settings. In these trials, different types of antipsychotics prescribed at different doses were withdrawn. Both abrupt and gradual withdrawal schedules were used. The risk of bias of the included studies was generally low regarding blinding and outcome reporting and unclear for randomisation procedures and recruitment of participants. There was a wide variety of outcome measures. Our primary efficacy outcomes were success of withdrawal (i.e. remaining in study off antipsychotics) and NPS. Eight of nine trials reported no overall significant difference between groups on the primary outcomes, although in one pilot study of people with psychosis and agitation that had responded to haloperidol, time to relapse was significantly shorter in the discontinuation group (Chi(2) = 4.1, P value = 0.04). The ninth trial included people with psychosis or agitation who had responded well to risperidone therapy for four to eight months and reported that discontinuation led to an increased risk of relapse, that is, increase in the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)-core score of 30% or greater (P value = 0.004, hazard ratio (HR) 1.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09 to 3.45 at four months). The only outcome that could be pooled was the full NPI-score, used in two studies. For this outcome there was no significant difference between people withdrawn from and those continuing on antipsychotics at three months (mean difference (MD) -1.49, 95% CI -5.39 to 2.40). These two studies reported subgroup analyses according to baseline NPI-score (14 or less versus > 14). In one study, those with milder symptoms at baseline were significantly less agitated at three months in the discontinuation group (NPI-agitation, Mann-Whitney U test z = 2.4, P value = 0.018). In both studies, there was evidence of significant behavioural deterioration in people with more severe baseline NPS who were withdrawn from antipsychotics (Chi(2) = 6.8; P value = 0.009 for the marked symptom score in one study). Individual studies did not report significant differences between groups on any other outcome except one trial that found a significant difference in a measure of verbal fluency, favouring discontinuation. Most trials lacked power to detect clinically important differences between groups. Adverse events were not systematically assessed. In one trial there was a non-significant increase in mortality in people who continued antipsychotic treatment (5% to 8% greater than placebo, depending on the population analysed, measured at 12 months). This trend became significant three years after randomisation, but due to dropout and uncertainty about the use of antipsychotics in this follow-up period this result should be interpreted with caution. Authors' conclusions : Our findings suggest that many older people with Alzheimer's dementia and NPS can be withdrawn from chronic antipsychotic medication without detrimental effects on their behaviour. It remains uncertain whether withdrawal is beneficial for cognition or psychomotor status, but the results of this review suggest that discontinuation programmes could be incorporated into routine practice. However, two studies of people whose agitation or psychosis had previously responded well to antipsychotic treatment found an increased risk of relapse or shorter time to relapse after discontinuation. Two other studies suggest that people with more severe NPS at baseline could benefit from continuing their antipsychotic medication. In these people, withdrawal might not be recommended.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background The evolution of neuroleptic prescriptions in an elderly population over a decade. Methods This retrospective study compares the prescriptions of neuroleptics in a geriatric hospital between 2000 and 2010, calculating the average dose of a neuroleptic in equivalent to haloperidol. The study analyses this dose when associated with a specific treatment for dementia in accordance with the recommendations of the HAS. Results We notice a 15% increase of the neuroleptic dose prescribed, although the dose of neuroleptic collectively admitted for a demented patient is respected. This can be explained by the evolution of the population of hospitalised patients. Conclusion This study shows the interest of following-up the prescriptions of neuroleptics. It underlines the interest of a more precise analysis of the prescriptions, so as to implement a strategy to control the use of neuroleptics in geriatrics.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · NPG Neurologie - Psychiatrie - Gériatrie
Show more