A new study, published by the University of Plymouth’s researchers in The Lancet, found that antidepressant mirtazapine didn’t show any positive results for people suffering from dementia.
Agitation is a common dementia symptom that is characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal, or motor activity, as well as physical and verbal violence. Non-drug patient-centered care should be tried initially, but if this does not work, physicians may resort to a drug-based option.
Mirtazapine has been commonly recommended since antipsychotics have been shown to increase death rates in patients with dementia, as well as other negative consequences. This study was meant to add to the body of evidence surrounding its efficacy.
The study, sponsored by the National for Health Research (NIHR), enrolled 204 adults with probable or suspected Alzheimer’s disease from 20 sites across the UK, randomly assigning half to mirtazapine and the other half to placebo. The trial was conducted in a double-blind style, which means that neither the researcher nor the research subjects knew what they were taking.
The results showed that the mirtazapine group had no less agitation than the control group after 12 weeks.
There were also seven additional deaths in the mirtazapine group (compared to one in the control group) by week 16, with analysis indicating that this was of marginal statistical significance.
Source: The Lancet
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