Behavioral disturbances are common but serious symptoms in patients with dementia. Currently there are no FDA approved drugs for this purpose. There have been case reports and small case series of the use of buspirone. In this retrospective study, we review 179 patients prescribed buspirone for treatment of behavioral disturbance in dementia to better characterize the efficacy and potential side effects. All patients prescribed buspirone for behavioral disturbance due to dementia from a geropsychiatric outreach program were reviewed. Data was collected and analyzed using SPSS. One hundred-seventy-nine patients met criteria for the study with a mean age of 83.8 + 7. Alzheimer’s dementia was the most common dementia (n=111; 62%) followed by vascular type (n=81; 45.5%). Behavioral disturbances were mainly verbal aggression (n= 125; 72.3%), and physical aggression (n=116; 47.5%). Using the Clinical Global Impression scale, 72.8% of patients responded to buspirone, with 30.8% being moderately to markedly improved. The mean dose of buspirone was 25.7 mg ±12.50. Buspirone appears to be effective in treating behavioral disturbances in dementia. Future prospective and double blinded studies are needed.
Santa Cruz MR, Hidalgo PC, Lee MS, Thomas CW, Holroyd S. Buspirone for the treatment of dementia with behavioral disturbance. International Psychogeriatrics. 2017;29(5):859-62.