PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT

Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Pharmacological Intervention

People suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s typically have increasingly progressive cognitive impairment problems, often showing personality and behavioural changes such as agitation, anxiety and confusion (2).

In care homes, dementia units can be distressful to the patient, other residents and their relatives, it also can stretch resources, as one-to-one involvement of staff increases.

As a result of limited resources, medication dosages may be increased. This can become a vicious cycle leading to polypharmacy. Medications that may be used to reduce patients’ agitation and anxiety often have side effects that may put them at increased risk of other medical pathology or mortality. Anti-psychotics used to control agitation and anxiety can increase the patients’ risk of having a cardio-vascular event such as a stroke and greater risk of falls (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

While pharamaceutical drugs (anticholinesterase drugs) may slow down the progress of the symptomes in some patients, it is not a cure and anticholinesterase drugs are not as effective for vascular dementia as they are for Alzheimer’s disease (1,2).

Non-pharmaceutical intervention, including biodynamic lighting, can help, enabling sufferers to be more active during the day, whilst enjoying quality sleep at night. With exposure to biodynamic lighting, their body can be re-synchronised to a natural 24-hour day and night rhythm, which can ultimately enhance a sense of wellbeing and quality of life.

Find out more about the benefits of light >>

Find out more about the brilliance of biodynamic lighting >>

References

  1. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vascular-dementia/Pages/Treatment.aspx
  2. http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Vascular-Dementia
  3. McCleery J., Fox R. Antipsychotic Prescribing in Nursing Homes: We Need to Understand Why This Practice Continues Despite the Morality Risk. British Medical Journal (2012) 344:e1093doi.
  4. Banerjee S. The Use of Antipsychotic Medications for People with Dementia: Time for Action. Department of Health: A Report for the Minister of State for Care Services (2009).
  5. Douglas IJ., Smeeth L. Exposure to Antipsychotics and Risk of Stroke: Self Controlled case Series Study. British Medical Journal (2008);337:a1227.
  6. Alzheimer’s Society Antipsychotic Drugs (2013). http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents
  7. Brooks M. Specific Antipsychotics Linked to Stroke Risk Identified March 21, (2013). Medscape http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/781193.