Quetiapine, a drug used to treat agitation in patients with Alzheimer's or dementia, may actually worsen cognitive decline say researchers based on findings of a recent study .
For the study 80 nursing home patients were observed . Twenty-six of the patients received quetiapine (an antipsychotic also known as Seroquel), 25 received rivastigmine (a cholinesterase inhibitor also known as Exelon), and 29 received a placebo. Patients were monitored for agitation and cognition levels at baseline, six weeks, and 26 weeks.Neither of the groups showed any significant improvement in agitation after six or 26 weeks compared to the placebo group. It was also observed that those taking quetiapine showed a significant cognitive decline.
Thus researchers say though quetiapine has been regarded as one of the safer antipsychotics, their study indicates that quetiapine should not be used as an alternative treatment to other antipsychotics such as risperidone (Risperdal) or olanzapine (Zyprexa or Zydis) in people with dementia as it seemed of no benefit in patients with dementia and agitation in institutional care but was rather associated with greater cognitive decline .