Pharmacological treatments for frontotemporal dementias: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2014 Mar;29(2):123-32. doi: 10.1177/1533317513507375. Epub 2013 Oct 27.


The objective of this review is to summarize the current data on the pharmacological treatments for frontotemporal dementias from randomized controlled trials. A systematic search of 4 major databases, PubMed, Medline, PsychINFO and Cochrane, found a total of 9 randomized controlled, double-blinded clinical trials. Of these, 2 trials used the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), paroxetine; 1 trial used trazodone; 2 trials used stimulants (methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine); 1 trial used the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, galantamine; 2 trials used the N-methyl-d-aspartate antagonist, memantine; and 1 trial used the neuropeptide oxytocin. The analysis of the available data indicates that SSRIs, trazodone, and the amphetamines may be effective in reducing some behavioral symptoms, but none of these medications had an impact on cognition. Available data indicate that these medications were well tolerated in all the trials.

Keywords: frontotemporal dementias; frontotemporal lobar degeneration pharmacological treatments; randomized controlled trial; systematic literature review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Memantine / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Memantine