Advances in Management of Neuropsychiatric Syndromes in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 Aug 8;21(8):79. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-1058-4.


Purpose of review: Neuropsychiatric syndromes (NPS) are common in neurodegenerative disorders (NDD). This review describes the role of NPS in the diagnosis of NDD, criteria for the diagnosis of NPS, management of NPS, and agents in clinical trials for NPS.

Recent findings: NPS play an increasingly important role in the diagnosis of NDD. Consensus diagnostic criteria have evolved for psychosis, depression, agitation, and apathy in NDD. With one exception-pimavanserin is approved for the treatment of hallucinations and delusions in Parkinson's disease-there are no drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of NPS in NDD. Trials show that atypical antipsychotics reduce psychosis in AD and in Parkinson's disease, although side effect concerns have constrained their use. Antidepressants show benefit in treatment of Parkinson's disease with depression. Several agents are in clinical trials for treatment of NPS in NDD. Neuropsychiatric syndromes play a major role in NDD diagnosis. Clinical criteria allow recognition of NPS in NDD. Psychotropic medications are often useful in the treatment of NPS in NDD; efficacious, safe, and approved agents are needed.

Keywords: Agitation; Alzheimer’s disease; Apathy; Depression; Neurodegenerative disorders; Neuropsychiatric syndromes; Parkinson’s disease; Psychosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delusions / complications
  • Delusions / therapy
  • Hallucinations / complications
  • Hallucinations / therapy
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / complications*
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy*
  • Syndrome