Treatment of psychosis in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy Bodies: A review

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2020 Jun;75:55-62. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2020.05.026. Epub 2020 May 25.


There is a considerable overlap between Parkinson's Disease Dementia (PDD) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). They present a challenge therapeutically, with regard to morbidity and mortality risk. In particular, symptoms of psychosis in these conditions augur a considerably increased burden. To date, there has been a myriad of prospective, retrospective and case studies examining the use of neuroleptics in the treatment of psychotic symptoms in PDD/DLB. Clozapine has the most robust evidence base however its use is limited by agranulocytosis risk and the associated need for frequent blood count monitoring. Quetiapine is more readily used, however, it has a more equivocal evidence base, in terms of efficacy. Other neuroleptics have thus far demonstrated mixed results with increased risk of extrapyramidal worsening. In addition to the atypical agents, the introduction of pimavanserin has provided another treatment option for Parkinson's Disease Psychosis (PDP), decreasing concern for deterioration in motor function. We await further research to confidently demonstrate its efficacy and safety in DLB psychosis. Cholinesterase inhibitors likely have a limited role in treating milder psychosis symptomatology in DLB and perhaps PDD. After review of the current literature for antipsychotic therapy in both PDD and DLB, we provide a logical framework for addressing psychotic symptoms in each condition.

Keywords: Lewy body; Neuroleptics; Parkinson's disease; Pimavanserin; Psychosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / complications
  • Lewy Body Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Urea / analogs & derivatives*
  • Urea / therapeutic use


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Piperidines
  • Urea
  • pimavanserin