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Olanzapine versus Haloperidol in the Treatment of Agitation in Elderly Patients with Dementia: Results of a Randomized Controlled Double-Blind Trial

Verhey F.R.J.a · Verkaaik M.b · Lousberg R.a
aDepartment of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, and bPrins Claus Center for Mental Health, Sittard, The Netherlands Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 2006;21:1–8 (DOI:10.1159/000089136)


The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of olanzapine versus haloperidol in the treatment of agitation and aggression in patients with dementia. The subjects were 58 out-patients with dementia and agitation. After baseline assessments and, if necessary, a period of wash-out of a previous antipsychotic drug, they were randomly assigned to 5 weeks of double-blind treatment with either olanzapine or haloperidol. The first 2 weeks were used for dose titration. Subsequently, the patients received a fixed dose of either olanzapine (average dose 4.71 mg) or haloperidol (average dose 1.75 mg) from day 14 to day 35. Both olanzapine and haloperidol decreased agitation significantly (decrease in Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory scores), but there was no significant difference between the two drugs. The two drugs had comparable effects on all secondary outcome measures. They were well tolerated and had a similar side-effect pattern. Our study could not demonstrate the superiority of olanzapine, compared to haloperidol, for the treatment of agitation in patients with dementia.


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