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 common 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, antidepressants, 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 in BPSD.
- Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health