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Randomised controlled trial
Dextromethorphan and quinidine are suitable for off-label short-term treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease following first-line non-drug approaches
  1. Anne Corbett,
  2. Clive Ballard
  1. Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Anne Corbett, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, London SE1 1UL, UK; anne.corbett{at}

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Agitation is a common and clinically important neuropsychiatric symptom in Alzheimer's disease (AD), conferring risk of distress, caregiver burden, mortality and institutionalisation. Non-drug approaches are best practice for first-line treatment.1 In cases warranting pharmacological treatment, options are limited. Atypical antipsychotics are only justified in cases of severe symptoms due to their lack of efficacy and extensive side effects.2 ,3 Innovation in this field is therefore a high priority. Treatment with dextromethorphan and quinidine has been proposed due to their mechanistic antagonism of nicotinic α3β4 receptor and low-affinity N-methyl-D-aspartate …

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  • Twitter Follow Anne Corbett at @DrAnneCorbett

  • Funding NIHR, Maudsley Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.