Antidepressant eases Alzheimer’s symptoms

A common antidepressant reduces agitation associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study.

Some 186 patients with probable Alzheimer’s and significant agitation took part in the study. Around half the group received the antidepressant drug citalopram, while the other group took a placebo.

Of the participants who took the drug, 40% had “considerable relief” compared to 26% in the placebo group. Researchers administered two rating scales to measure agitation at the start and end of the study.

Care-givers of patients with suspected Alzheimer’s also appeared to experience reduced distress.

While the findings are promising, lead author Anton P. Porsteinsson warned adverse effects of the drug on cardiac and cognitive health means the dosage should generally not exceed 20mg per day.

Read more at University of Rochester