Dementia Patients Do Better Without Drugs

by Iswarya on  October 15, 2019 at 2:07 PM Senior Health News
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Nonpharmacologic treatments, such as outdoor activities, massage, and touch therapy, are more effective than drugs in treating aggression and agitation among dementia patients, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dementia Patients Do Better Without Drugs
Dementia Patients Do Better Without Drugs

Both pharmacologic treatments, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, and nonpharmacologic treatments, such as exercise and massage therapy, are used to treat neuropsychiatric symptoms in persons with dementia. Despite the risk for potential harms, drug prescribing remains high.

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Researchers from the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital-Unity Health Toronto, reviewed 163 published randomized controlled trials comparing interventions for treating aggression and agitation in adults with dementia to compare the efficacy of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments.

Across five outcomes, multidisciplinary care, massage, and touch therapy, music therapy, music combined with massage and touch therapy, and cognitive stimulation were clinically effective compared with usual care.

Although certain pharmacologic treatments (dextromethorphan-quinidine and cannabinoids) were effective compared to placebo or usual care in subgroup analyses, the authors note that effective nonpharmacologic treatments should be prioritized given the known harms associated with certain pharmacologic treatments.

Source: Eurekalert

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