In this 10-week, double-blind, fixed-dose study, elderly institutionalized patients with dementia and agitation were randomized (3:3:2) to quetiapine 200mg/day, 100mg/day, or placebo. The primary endpoint was change in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)-Excitement Component (EC) scores at endpoint, analysed using last observation carried forward (LOCF) and observed cases (OC) approaches. Other efficacy measures were the Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGI-C), and response rates (percentage with ≥40% reduction [PANSS-EC]; “much” or “very much improved” [CGI-C]), Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home version (NPI-NH), and Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI). The key safety measure was incidence of adverse events; change in Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was also assessed. Baseline characteristics of 333 participants (quetiapine 200mg/day, n=117; quetiapine 100mg/day, n=124; placebo, n=92) and completion rates (63-65%) were comparable among groups. Compared with placebo, quetiapine 200mg/day was associated with clinically greater improvements in PANSS-EC (LOCF, p=0.065; OC, p=0.014 [ANCOVA]), CGI-C (LOCF, p=0.017; OC, p=0.002 [ANOVA]), and CGI-C response rates (LOCF, p=0.002; OC, p < 0.001 [Chi-square test]). Quetiapine 100mg/day did not differentiate from placebo on these measures. There were no between-group differences in NPI-NH or CMAI. Incidences of cerebrovascular adverse events, postural hypotension, and falls were similar among groups. MMSE did not change in any group. Mortality was numerically higher in the quetiapine groups; rates were not statistically different from placebo. The results of this study suggest that quetiapine 200mg/day was effective and well-tolerated for treating agitation associated with dementia. However, caution should be exercised given the concerns regarding increased mortality with atypical antipsychotics in this vulnerable patient population.
Quetiapine, atypical antipsychotic, efficacy, safety, tolerability, agitation, dementia, Alzheimer's disease
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