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Use of Antipsychotic Medications to Treat Behavioral Disturbances in Persons with Dementia

Approved by the Joint Reference Committee March 2014

  • 2014

Resource Document on the Use of Antipsychotic Medications to Treat Behavioral Disturbances in Persons with Dementia

Despite incomplete evidence about the safety and effectiveness of antipsychotic medication use in patients
with dementia, there remain specific clinical situations in which their use may be appropriate. In considering use of these medications, the following points may be important to note:

1. Medical conditions or environmental factors may trigger behavioral or psychotic symptoms. Frequently, addressing unmet needs (e.g. pain, need for social support, stimulation) or treating underlying medical conditions (e.g. constipation, urinary tract infections) that may be triggers for psychosis and agitation may alleviate these symptoms (5).

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