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Randomised controlled trial
Citalopram decreases agitation in the context of Alzheimer's disease, but at doses higher than those commonly prescribed and at the expense of side effects
  1. Benjamin R Underwood1,
  2. Chris Fox2
  1. 1Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK;
  2. 2University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Benjamin R Underwood, Beechcroft, Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge, CB21 5EF, UK; ben.underwood{at}

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By 2050, an estimated 135 million people will suffer from dementia globally.1 Caring for those with Alzheimer's disease (AD)—by far the most common form of dementia—is expensive, costing an estimated £23 billion per annum in the UK. As the disease progresses, neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression, agitation and behavioural disturbance appear. The incidence of these symptoms, which predict institutionalisation and caregiver distress, is high—perhaps affecting as many as 95% of Alzheimer's sufferers.2 ,3

Historically, antipsychotic drugs have been administered for the treatment of agitation and aggression in this context. While there is evidence for modest efficacy for some antipsychotics, …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.