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A new, free resource has been
released to help doctors decrease
the over-prescription of antipsychotic
medication in people with behavioural and
psychological symptoms of dementia.
The short film, Antipsychotics &
Dementia: Managing Medications,
was developed in response to recent
research which found that antipsychotic
medication, which can have serious
side - effects, is used too frequently to
manage behavioural and psychological
symptoms of dementia.
Available on Alzheimer’s Australia’s
Detect Early website, the resource
has been developed by AlzNSW,
in conjunction with Southern Cross
Care (NSW & ACT) and the Dementia
Collaborative Research Centre. It has
also been supported by the Australian
Medical Association (NSW).
AlzNSW Honorary Medical Advisor
and the Director of the Dementia
Collaborative Research Centre Professor
Henry Brodaty, who appears in the short
film, said that there are often a range of
non-pharmacological interventions that
can and should be considered when
managing behavioural and psychological
symptoms of dementia, such as pain
therapy and person-centered activity,
before prescribing patients with
“In some cases, the use of
antipsychotic medication is appropriate,”
Professor Brodaty said. “However, we
know that in many cases, there are other,
much more appropriate treatments that
should be looked at first.
“For example, providing pain relief,
tailoring personal care practices to the
individual’s preferences or working
with the family to engage the person
in more meaningful and stimulating
activities [are alternatives to be
considered],” he explained.
Alzheimer’s Australia’s report, The
Use of Restraints and Psychotropic
Medications in People with Dementia,
found that about half of people in
aged care facilities are receiving
psychotropic medications, with 80
per cent of those with dementia
also medicated. It also found that
international data suggests that only
20 per cent of people with dementia
who are receiving antipsychotic
Reducing The use oF anTipsychoTic
medicaTions in people wiTh demenTia:
a new appRoach
we know ThaT in
many cases, TheRe
aRe oTheR, much
should be consideRed.
Recent research has identified that antipsychotic medication is used too frequently, and
for extensive periods of time, to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of
Dr Henry Brodaty, Director of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre,
presents the evidence base to support the use of non-pharmacological
interventions, person-centred activity and pain therapy as a first line
approach in BPSD management. Dr Brodaty identifies situations when
antipsychotic medications are appropriate, and a number of behaviours
where antipsychotics would have no effect.
The numerous short-term and long-term side effects, assessment and conditions to
monitor for in the patient are clearly explained, including appropriate review and
Dr Julian Pierre, a GP who visits a number of aged care homes, discusses the effect
antipsychotic medication has on his patients, with a 12-week review, and a plan to
deprescribe the medication when the BPSD is managed.
Tim Perry, a consultant pharmacist, discusses how a revised medication management
review (RMMRs), for people that reside in care homes, can be used to support a
deprescribing plan. Tim also explains the benefits of Home Medicine Reviews (HMRs)
for people who live at home.
The video highlights the benefits of a collaborative approach towards the deprescribing
of antipsychotics that involves the patient, family, care staff, doctor and pharmacist.
Acknowledgements: Alzheimer’s Australia NSW would like to thank everyone involved
with the development of this film. This project was supported by financial assistance
from Southern Cross Care NSW/ACT, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and AMA NSW.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the
land throughout Australia and their continuing connection to country. We pay respect to
Elders both past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people who have made a contribution to our organisation.
The National Dementia Helpline T: 1800 100 500, is an Australian Government Initiative.
© Copyright - Alzheimer’s Australia NSW 2014
Content may be copied in full with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when
used only for non-commercial or not-for-profit purposes. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Alzheimer’s
Australia NSW is required. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Alzheimer’s
Australia NSW, PO Box 6042, North Ryde, NSW 2113 or you can email us on: E: NSW.Admin@alzheimers.org.au
A free resource for healthcare professionals working with
people living with a diagnosis of dementia.
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