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Frontotemporal Dementia: A Randomised, Controlled Trial with Trazodone

Lebert F.a · Stekke W.b · Hasenbroekx C.c · Pasquier F.a
aMemory Clinic, Lille University Hospital, Lille, France; bPharmacia Laboratory, Diegem, cDepartment of Neurology, Heilig Hart Ziekenhuis, Roeselare, Belgium Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2004;17:355–359 (DOI:10.1159/000077171)


Behavioural troubles due to frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are difficult to treat. The serotonergic system is associated with frontal lobes, the degeneration of which contributes to FTD. Trazodone increases the extracellular 5-HT levels in the frontal cortex. In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study, we investigated the effect of trazodone. There was a significant decrease in the Neuropsychiatry Inventory (NPI) total score with trazodone (p = 0.028) in the 26 evaluable patients. A decrease of more than 50% in the NPI score was observed in 10 patients with trazodone. This improvement was mainly based on the improvement of 4 items of the scale (irritability, agitation, depressive symptoms and eating disorders). The Mini-Mental State Examination was not modified and trazodone was well tolerated. Results of this first placebo-controlled trial suggest that trazodone is an effective treatment for the behavioural symptoms of FTD.


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