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Drug Usage Evaluation (DUE)

Drug Usage Evaluation

The DUE kit for antipsychotic use in the management of dementia in aged care homes:

Drugs for dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, but the prevalence of dementia increases with age. It is a syndrome that affects cognition, memory, function and caregiver burden. Appropriate management strategies will vary according to the stage of the illness and the goals of treatment.

Drugs may provide only modest improvement for people with dementia. Decisions about starting drugs should be based on benefit-harm assessment for the individual patient, tolerability, adverse effect profile, ease of use and goals of treatment.

There is limited evidence to support the use of antipsychotics in the management of behavioural problems whereas risk of cerebrovascular events and all cause mortality may increase. A trial of antipsychotics medications should be reserved for patients with aggression, agitation and psychotic symptoms whose symptoms are frequent, persistent and distressing and do not respond to non-drug therapy.

Non-pharmacological approaches are valuable strategies to help people with dementia and those caring for them. Individually tailored interventions focusing on those difficulties considered most relevant by the person with dementia and their carers appear to be particularly effective.

Prescribing Practice Review 43: Treating the symptoms of dementia
PPR43: Treating the symptoms of dementia
Go to the resource page.
Download PDF now
NPS News 59: Drugs used in dementia in the elderly
NPS News 59: Drugs used in dementia in the elderly
Go to the resource page.
Download PDF now.

NPS Facilitators – who are based in divisions of general practice around Australia – will be implementing the Treating the symptoms of dementia program by conducting educational visits and case-based meetings for GPs and pharmacists. They may also be able to offer education to your nursing staff. Please contact NPS or your local division of general practice for more information.

Other useful resources

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