J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2013 Oct;17(2):61-68.

Pharmacotherapy for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in Dementia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Korea. psyleekr@naver.com
  • 2Medical Research Institute, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, Korea.


Behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) are one of the common causes leading to significant impairment in quality of life for both patients and their caregivers, as well as an increased risk of institutionalization. In the treatment of BPSD, the first step is to check medical illness, and environmental status that can cause BPSD. When BPSD are associated with medical illness or environmental status, it is important to correct this condition for treatment of BPSD. However, if BPSD are very severe enough to be dangerous to patients or others and are not treatable by nonpharmacological approaches, pharmacological treatments could be considered. In pharmacological approaches, it is important to select relevant drugs according to the target symptoms, such as psychosis, depression, agitation, sleep disturbance, and so on. Due to the altered pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, drug dosages for the patients with dementia should be started very low and increased slowly.


Dementia; Behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia; Pharmacotherapy
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