Clinical practice with anti-dementia drugs: A revised (second) consensus statement from the British Association for Psychopharmacology

John T. O'Brien, Alistair Burns

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    The British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) coordinated a meeting of experts to review and revise its first (2006) Guidelines for clinical practice with anti-dementia drugs. As before, levels of evidence were rated using accepted standards which were then translated into grades of recommendation A to D, with A having the strongest evidence base (from randomized controlled trials) and D the weakest (case studies or expert opinion). Current clinical diagnostic criteria for dementia have sufficient accuracy to be applied in clinical practice (B) and brain imaging can improve diagnostic accuracy (B). Cholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine) are effective for mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (A) and memantine for moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease (A). Until further evidence is available other drugs, including statins, anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin E and Ginkgo biloba, cannot be recommended either for the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease (A). Neither cholinesterase inhibitors nor memantine are effective in those with mild cognitive impairment (A). Cholinesterase inhibitors are not effective in frontotemporal dementia and may cause agitation (A), though selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help behavioural (but not cognitive) features (B). Cholinesterase inhibitors should be used for the treatment of people with Lewy body dementias (Parkinson's disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)), especially for neuropsychiatric symptoms (A). Cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine can produce cognitive improvements in DLB (A). There is no clear evidence that any intervention can prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Although the consensus statement focuses on medication, psychological interventions can be effective in addition to pharmacotherapy, both for cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms. Many novel pharmacological approaches involving strategies to reduce amyloid and/or tau deposition are in progress. Although results of pivotal studies are awaited, results to date have been equivocal and no disease-modifying agents are either licensed or can be currently recommended for clinical use. © The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permissions:
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)997-1019
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


    • Alzheimer's disease
    • dementia
    • guidelines
    • treatment


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