Neuroleptic drugs in dementia: benefits and harm

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jun;7(6):492-500. doi: 10.1038/nrn1926.


Neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs are often used to treat psychiatric symptoms frequently seen in dementia, but their use is controversial. We present a new meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of these drugs for the treatment of psychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease, and discuss the more limited evidence for their potential benefits in other dementias. We recommend that these treatments be limited to the short-term treatment of psychiatric symptoms associated with serious distress or risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Fever / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents