Veterans’ Mates: Antipsychotic use in dementia

15 Sep 2016

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans’ MATES program team recently released the latest topic in the Veterans’ MATES program, Antipsychotic use in dementia. It provides a therapeutic brief for GPs and a carers brochure to support families and carers of veterans with dementia.

The topic Antipsychotic use in dementiahighlights:

  • Changes recommended by the Therapeutic Goods Administration that the use of risperidone be limited to treatment of up to 12 weeks for people with Alzheimer’s type dementia;
  • The importance of personalising care and using non-pharmacological strategies as first line treatment; and
  • How to support families and carers of patients with dementia.

In late August copies of the therapeutic brief and carers brochure, along with other topic-related materials, were mailed to approximately 4,900 GPs who treat relevant veterans. Unlike previous Veterans’ Mates topics, letters were not written directly to veterans.

The comprehensive therapeutic brief provides information on the limited benefits and high risks of antipsychotic use in behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). It also includes advice on managing behaviours of concern, points to consider when prescribing an antipsychotic and how to cease antipsychotics.

The carers brochure suggests ways that families and carers can help when changes in behaviour arise, services available to support them, and encourages them to share their practical tips to others who care for their family member or friend.