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Review: pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions improve outcomes in patients with dementia and for their caregivers

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 QUESTION: Do pharmacotherapy, educational, or other non-pharmacological interventions improve outcomes in patients with dementia or for their caregivers?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, CINAHL, Current Contents, Psychological Abstracts, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane databases with terms that include Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular or multi-infarct dementia, dementia with associated parkinsonian disorder, progressive supranuclear palsy, frontotemporal dementia, and senile dementia. Additional terms used were question specific. Bibliographies of relevant papers were also reviewed.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials published in any language or other types of studies published in English with > 20 participants.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study quality, participant characteristics, interventions, outcome measures, and results.

Main results

380 articles met the selection criteria. Several studies comparing cholinesterase inhibitors (eg, tacrine, donepezil, tartrate, and galantamine) with placebo showed that these drugs were more effective than placebo for improving cognitive outcomes in a subgroup …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Quality Standards Subcommittee, American Academy of Neurology, 1080 Montreal Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55116, USA. Fax +1 713 798 5326.

  • Abstract and commentary also appear in Evidence-Based Mental Health. A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Nursing.