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Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2010 Dec;13(Suppl 2):S94-8. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.74252.

An approach to and the rationale for the pharmacological management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

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Department of Neurology, AIIMS, New Delhi, India.


The behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) have been a difficult management area for neurologists and psychiatrists alike. The correct identification of each symptom and the underlying precipitating cause is the key to proper management-nonpharmacological as well as pharmacological. BPSD has been well documented in all types of dementia in various stages of the disease and in all dementias at an advanced stage. The proper management is not only rewarding in terms of responsiveness in an otherwise "incurable" and progressive disease, but also improves the quality of life of the patients and the caregivers alike. The caregiver burden is greatly decreased by an efficient management of BPSD. This review discusses the implications and boundaries of the term BPSD and unravels each symptom and its identification. Manifestations of psychological symptoms such as delusion, hallucination, misidentification, psychosis, depression, apathy, and anxiety are briefly described. Correct identification of behavior symptoms such as wandering, agitation, catastrophic reaction, disinhibition, and delirium has been outlined. While the subtle differences in each entity make the precise identification difficult, the different therapeutics of each make the exercise necessary. Pharmacological recommendations and side effects of medications have been mentioned thereafter. The review will help in the identification and correct pharmacological management of BPSD.


Behavior; dementia; diagnosis; psychological; therapeutics

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