This study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, fixed dose study currently
being conducted on two geropsychiatric units at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. It
seeks to evaluate the short-term safety and efficacy of citalopram and perphenazine in the
treatment of 112 patients suffering from behavioral disturbances associated with dementia.
Findings from this research may directly lead to improved acute pharmacotherapy for
psychosis and behavioral problems in patients diagnosed with dementia. Improved treatment of
behavioral complications with reduced side effects would reduce excess disability in
patients diagnosed with dementia, allowing them to be maintained in the community for
greater periods of time.
The principal investigator is conducting an inpatient study at Western Psychiatric Institute
and Clinic involving two medications for treatment of emotional and behavioral disturbances
that may accompany dementia. In this study, 112 patients will be enrolled for up to 17 days
in order to investigate the safety and effectiveness of both medications. Forty-two of these
patients will be given a recently FDA-approved antidepressant medication called citalopram
and 42 will receive one of our current, usual antipsychotic medications called perphenazine.
An additional 28 patients will be given non-active placebo capsules. Which treatment a
patient is given during the study will be determined by chance. Findings from this
investigation may directly lead to the improvement of symptoms such as: agitation,
hostility, suspiciousness, hallucinations, and unusual thoughts. Improved treatment of
problematic behaviors and a decrease in medication-associated side effects would enable
dementia patients to be cared for in their home environments for longer periods of time.
- Meets DSM-IV criteria for diagnosis of dementia of the Alzheimer's type (AD),
Vascular dementia (VD), mixed (AD and VD) or dementia NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)
- Presents with psychosis or behavioral problems severe enough to endanger the
patient's health, well-being or safety, as evidenced by a score of at least 3
(moderate) on one of the Neurobehavioral Rating Scale (NBRS) agitation items
(8,11,14) or psychosis items (16,18,20) and are not secondary to physical illness nor
amenable to environmental optimization
- Able to participate in study evaluations and ingest oral medication
- Has next of kin or a guardian available to consent to patient's participation.
- Has an unstable medical illness including significant cardiac (specifically
bradycardia with ventricular rate below 50), renal, hepatic, or neurological illness
(especially Parkinson's disease) other than dementia
- Meets DSM-IV criteria for Delirium upon admission to Western Psychiatric Institute
- Has been medicated within 4 weeks of protocol admission with fluoxetine or 2 weeks
with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (patients will undergo a monitored psychotropic
drug washout prior to entering the protocol)
- Is currently being treated with cognitive enhancing drugs (Tacrine or Aricept) or any
- Has a concurrent diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
- Has preexisting orthostatic hypotension (with > 20 mmHg change from sitting to