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Ann Pharmacother. 1992 Nov;26(11):1400-8.

Nonneuroleptic treatment of disruptive behavior in organic mental syndromes.

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1
Division of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To summarize the literature describing nonneuroleptic treatments of unacceptably disruptive behavior in chronically institutionalized psychiatric patients with mental retardation, autism, organic brain syndrome, and dementia.

DATA SOURCES:

Relevant articles were identified from a MEDLINE search of the above diagnoses linked with "aggression" and "psychomotor agitation." Additional references were found in the bibliographies of these articles.

STUDY SELECTION/DATA EXTRACTION:

The studies reviewed were limited to prospective evaluations of nonneuroleptic drug therapy of these behavior disturbances. Case reports, case series, and retrospective studies were excluded. Studies of patients with schizophrenia, affective disorders, and personality disorders were also excluded.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Studies of lithium, beta-blockers, carbamazepine, benzodiazepines, and buspirone were adequate for review. As a rule, these studies are hampered by poor design. The lithium studies suggest that mentally retarded patients with behavior disturbances may respond to lithium treatment. The beta-blocker studies suggest improvement in patients with mental retardation, autism, organic brain syndrome, and dementia. Neuroleptic discontinuation or a decrease in dose was possible in some patients. The carbamazepine studies were inconclusive. Carbamazepine should be reserved for patients with concomitant seizure disorders. Benzodiazepines were helpful in treating elderly demented patients. Thus far, buspirone has been evaluated in only a few, poorly designed studies and is not yet recommended for treatment of behavior disturbances.

CONCLUSIONS:

Legislation has restricted the use of neuroleptics in many patients receiving long-term healthcare. Despite the questionable validity of the studies reviewed, lithium, beta-blockers, carbamazepine, and benzodiazepines may be considered as alternatives to neuroleptics in selected cases.

PMID:
1362095
DOI:
10.1177/106002809202601114
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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