Evaluating the Risks of Second Generation Antipsychotic Use in Elders with Dementia- Pharmacist


  Credits  2

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Dementia develops in 5-8% of adults over the age of 65 years and 25-50% of those over 85 years of age. In addition to a progressive decline in cognition and functioning, patients commonly exhibit behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). These include physical or verbal aggression, wandering, restlessness, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. BPSD contributes substantially to patient distress and caregiver burden, and can result in institutionalization of the patient. Up to 90% of demented patients in nursing homes exhibit BPSD. Strategies to address BPSD include non-drug management, antipsychotics, cholinesterase inhibitors, antidepressants, antiepileptics, and benzodiazepines. Among these options, second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are widely used, although none have been FDA approved for this indication and there are serious safety concerns linked with their use. This issue summarizes the limited efficacy and tolerability of SGAs when they are used in demented older adults. Detailed explanations of the increased risk for stroke, death, tardive dyskinesia and pneumonia that are associated with SGAs are provided. Ways to minimize adverse effects are discussed along with a comprehensive list of recommendations for non-drug approaches to assist patients with BPSD. Improving quality of care in this vulnerable population requires that healthcare providers be fully cognizant of the risks and benefits of treatment and that patients’ caregivers are making fully informed decisions about using these medications.


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Course Information

Target Audience

Pharm/Nurse Drug Therapy

Knowledge Level

General Overview

This activity will apply to a broad range of learning needs/pharmacy settings. It may include common disease state/therapy overivews and/or general pharmacy needs such as medication errors, immunizations, or law topics.

Learning Objectives

Course Accreditation

  • Activity Type:
  • CE Broker
  • Universal Activity Number:
    Pharmacist : 428-0000-09-008-H01-P
PharmCon is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

PharmCon, Inc. is an approved course provider for continuing education for nurses by the Florida Board of Nursing. PharmCon is also recognized by the California Board of Nursing as a provider of nursing programs.

In order to obtain a Statement of Credit, attendees must answer poll questions where presented and complete a program evaluation. Attendees may immediately print their Statement of Credit or leave them stored on the website.

Technology Requirements

  • Hardware Requirements
    Standard Windows/Mac System
    iPad or iPhone
    Minimum screen resolution: 1024x768
    Speakers or headphones
  • Software Requirements
    Standard Windows/Mac System
    iPad or iPhone
    Minimum screen resolution: 1024x768
    Speakers or headphones
  • Network Requirements
    Broadband Internet Connection:
    T1, Hi-speed DSL or Cable
    4G cellular connection
Computer sharing is NOT permitted due to accreditation guidelines on activity monitoring. Credit is earned by one user per device.