Zotepine for behavioural and psychological
symptoms in dementia: an open-label study

Rainer MK, Mucke HA, Kruger-Rainer C, Haushofer M, Kasper S.
Memory Clinic and Psychiatric Department,
Donauspital, Sozialmedizinisches Zentrum Ost,
Vienna, Austria.
CNS Drugs. 2004;18(1):49-55


OBJECTIVE: To provide initial information on the safety and efficacy of the atypical antipsychotic zotepine in the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). METHODS: This was an open-label, single-centre field study. Twenty-four patients with BPSD associated with Alzheimer's disease (n=12) or other forms of dementia (n=12) were included. During the 8-week observation period, the patients received zotepine (Nipolept) [12.5-150 mg/day] for the psychotic components of BPSD; no other treatment interventions for BPSD were allowed. At baseline, day 28 and day 56, patients were evaluated using the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale; the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Syndrome Brief Test (SKT) and the Age Concentration Test (AKT) to assess cognition; and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI) to assess BPSD. General adverse effects and, more specifically, the emergence of extrapyramidal symptoms were also assessed. RESULTS: There was no change from baseline to day 56 in the CGI score and the caregiver burden (as indicated by the caregiver-related section of the NPI). There was also no change in cognition (as assessed by the MMSE, SKT and AKT). The neuropsychiatric symptom score according to part 1 of the NPI (especially key psychotic symptoms, aggression and disinhibition) and the CMAI scores improved by 36% and 15%, respectively, between baseline and the end of the study in a highly statistically significant fashion. No significant differences in treatment response or adverse effect profile were noted between the 12 patients with Alzheimer's disease and the 12 patients with other types of dementia. Zotepine was well tolerated, with tiredness and sedation (five and four cases, respectively) being the most frequent complaints. No clinically significant emergence of extrapyramidal symptoms was seen. CONCLUSIONS: Zotepine appears to be well tolerated and effective in treating BPSD, consistent with the performance of other atypical antipsychotic drugs in this condition. Larger, controlled studies are warranted.
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