Management of Psychosis and Agitation in Elderly Patients: A Primary Care Perspective

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It is important for the primary care physician to become familiar with the appropriate management of agitation and psychosis in elderly patients. The treatment plan should include making an accurate diagnosis of underlying causes, defining reasonable treatment goals, developing and implementing both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment, and evaluating the effectiveness of that treatment plan. Nonpharmacologic treatments include organized social activities and structured patient environments, such as special care units. Atypical antipsychotic agents are now available that appear to be more effective in treating target symptoms while causing fewer unwanted side effects in older patients.

J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60(suppl 13):22-25