Addressing Noncognitive Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

Paul B. Rosenberg, MD


March 08, 2023

Noncognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease are common in people with dementia and include, agitation, depression, apathy, and sleep disturbance. All of these can be disabling to both patients and caregivers.

Dr Paul Rosenberg, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, shares first-line nonpharmacologic strategies as well as pharmacologic options to improve noncognitive symptoms.

Currently, there are no FDA-approved drug treatments for noncognitive symptoms in people with Alzheimer's, but there are several medications that may enhance the quality of life of patients with this disease.

Dr Rosenberg reports on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for the management of agitation and methylphenidate in patients who are experiencing apathy.

Finally, Dr Rosenberg reports on evidence of the importance of good sleep for patients with Alzheimer's disease. He reviews several sleep medications that are relatively safe for individuals with dementia but advises that the benefits and risks of various sleep medications must be evaluated for individual patients.


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