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M. Canevelli, G. Remoli, M. Toccaceli Blasi, L. Tariciotti, G. Sarli, M. Valletta, F. D’Antonio, N. Vanacore, M. Cesari, G. Bruno

J Frailty Aging 2021;10(1)22-30

The implementation of effective interventions for neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) is perceived as one of the most pressing research priorities in the field of dementia and one of the main unmet needs from the perspective of affected individuals and their caregivers and relatives. Nevertheless, to date, only a relatively marginal part of dementia research has focused on NPS. This study aimed to describe and discuss the state of the art concerning the identification and development of new pharmacological treatments for NPS in dementia. A review of 320 ongoing phase 1, 2, 3, and 4 protocols registered in the clinicaltrials.gov database was performed. All the trials enrolling patients with dementia were selected. Only studies adopting clinical measures of NPS frequency and/or severity as primary outcome were retained and analyzed. Overall, only a minority of ongoing phase 1, 2, 3 and 4 protocols on dementia (i.e., 9.0%) is primarily targeting NPS. Most of these studies are adopting a placebo-controlled parallel assignment design, testing oral compounds, and targeting specific NPS (mostly agitation and/or aggression). A total of 3,445 subjects with dementia will tentatively be recruited in these trials. The methodologies adopted in these studies, the characteristics of the tested interventions, the eligibility criteria, and the operational definitions of NPS are presented and discussed. The relevance of NPS is not yet matched by an adequate research effort. The current tendency at privileging disease-modifying approaches and other symptoms of dementia and the methodological complexity of studying NPS are still substantially contributing to the gap between research activities and clinical needs.

M. Canevelli ; G. Remoli ; M. Toccaceli Blasi ; L. Tariciotti ; G. Sarli ; M. Valletta ; F. D’Antonio ; N. Vanacore ; M. Cesari ; G. Bruno (2020): Ongoing research protocols for the pharmacological treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia. The Journal of Frailty and Aging (JFA). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jfa.2020.36

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