Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 265
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825508

Cognitive performance, behavioural and psychological symptoms, and circadian rhythm disturbances in Alzheimer’s disease patients treated with quetiapine or haloperidol

C Schröder 1, A Wirz-Justice 1, F Müller-Spahn 2, E Savaskan 2
  • 1Centre for Chronobiology and
  • 2Psychiatric University Clinic, Basel, Switzerland

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is characterised by cognitive decline, behavioural problems (BPSD) and sleep-wake cycle disturbances: the latter decrease the quality of life of patients and caregivers and result in earlier institutionalisation. 16 AD patients (10 women, 6 men, age:80±2 y, MMSE: 19±1) were enrolled in this 6-week, open, comparative study and randomly assigned to quetiapine or haloperidol. Before and after 4 weeks treatment, we assessed cognitive performance with CERAD, BPSD with NPI and NOSGER, and the circadian rest-activity cycle with actimetry for one week. Some cognitive functions (delayed word recall) improved with quetiapine (p<0.05). Haloperidol worsened depression scores (p<0.05) and increased abnormal motor activity as well as augmenting difficulties in self care, whereas quetiapine improved both symptoms of depression and anxiety (p<0.05). A significant fragmentation of the circadian rest-activity cycle was found after haloperidol, whereas quetiapine tended to consolidate circadian rhythm organisation. Overall, these results show a tendency for quetiapine to improve not only cognitive performance, but also BPSD and circadian rhythm disturbances, in contrast to haloperidol. (Funding: AstraZeneca)