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J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 1998 Winter;11(4):206-12.

Behavioral disturbances of dementia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.


Behavioral disturbances are common in patients with dementia. Medical intervention is needed if, for example, these behaviors threaten a patient's safety or jeopardize his or her ability to perform activities of daily living. Typical antipsychotic agents are associated with troublesome adverse effects in the elderly (e.g., anticholinergic effects, extrapyramidal symptoms). Atypical antipsychotics have reduced potential to cause these types of side effects but are not free from side effects. Recently, there has been a greater focus on the use of antidepressants to treat behavioral disturbances in dementia. Among these, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been studied more commonly due to their safety profile in the elderly. Citalopram, in particular, has demonstrated efficacy in improving dementia-related behavioral symptoms.

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