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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

versão impressa ISSN 0034-7450


AHUNCA VELASQUEZ, Luisa Fernanda. Beyond Cognitive Impairment: Neuropsychiatrie Symptoms in Neurodegenerative Dementias. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2017, vol.46, suppl.1, pp.51-58. ISSN 0034-7450.

As life expectancy increases, the number of people diagnosed with neurodegenerative dementia also increases. Although cognitive impairment is central in dementia, neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) are very important because they increase both direct and indirect costs by generating greater morbidity, caregiver distress, use of medication and institutionalisation. Furthermore, it is important to understand the nature of NPS, since they can vary across the different types of dementia and may provide useful clinical information regarding the aetiology of cognitive impairment.

The first-line management of NPS in dementia is non-pharmacological; internal and external causes should first be identified and strategies developed to modify the behavioural patterns of the patient and their caregiver. In addition, changes in the patient's surroundings that may improve patient performance and behaviour should be encouraged. If these practices are not satisfactory, a pharmacological treatment approach is adopted that includes anti-dementia drugs, antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers and benzodiazepines. However, psychoactive drugs do not offer sufficient efficacy and most of them have significant adverse effects, so each patient should be individually assessed, together with the implementation of non-pharmacological strategies, before deciding on pharmacological treatment for the management of NPS in dementia.

Palavras-chave : Dementia; Neuropsychiatric symptoms; Non-pharmacological strategies; Pharmacological treatment.

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