Behavioral and psychological symptoms in dementia (BPSD) are common and very distressing for patients and caregivers. There is a wide variation in the rates of BPSD among patients in nursing homes, community and hospitals.
Objective: To investigate the frequency of BPSD in a Brazilian outpatient sample with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods: We studied 17 subjects (4 males and 13 females) with AD, diagnosed according to ICD-10 and NINCDS-ADRDA criteria, selected for an open trial with rivastigmine. The symptoms were assessed using NPI. Clinical profile and demographic features were assessed using CDR, CGI and MMSE.
Results: The sample mean age was 73.65 years (range 64-81) and mean schooling was 6.25 years (range 3-15). Mean NPI score was 14.24 (SD=10.77; range 0-40). Apathy and behavioral disturbance were the most frequent symptoms, found in 12 and 10 subjects respectively (70.6% and 58.8%) followed by disinhibition, depression and agitation, each one found in 7 subjects (41.2%). Only one patient didn’t have any BPSD. Significant correlation was found between NPI scores and gender, with female patients having more symptoms than male (r=0.652; p=0.005). There was no significant correlation between MMSE scores, CDR and CGI results and gender.
Conclusion: BPSD are highly frequent among AD patients' attended in psychogeriatric services. The finding of higher NPI scores in female gender could be only a result of selection bias and should be addressed in future studies with larger AD samples of Brazilian outpatients.
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