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Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer`s and Risperdal

08/13/2007

Question:

Good morning, I am concerned for my 80 yr old father who has Alzheimer disease and recently has been having some upsetting hallucinations. Not all the time but now and then. Saying he was robbed and kidnapped etc. His doctor just prescribed Risperdal for this. I`m concerned after reading about this drug for treatment for this sort of problem especially with my father who has a history of heart disease as well. Any comments you have on this drug and treatment in the elderly for dementia would be helpful. Thank you.

Answer:

Your father has Alzheimer's disease and false beliefs. The best treatments for reducing these false beliefs are antipsychotic medications. The safest ones are the atypical antipsychotics. Risperdal is one of these. They are not without side effects but are usually well tolerated if used in low doses. Side effects related to the heart are not common. Usually 0.5 mg at night or twice a day is helpful. Occasionally doses up to 1 mg twice a day are needed. Beyond that you may have a higher risk of side effects. If adverse effects are noted, a trial of a different atypical antipsychotic medication is usually indicated.

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Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University