The Treatment of Psychosis in Late Life


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The authors emphasize the need for careful differential diagnosis when symptoms of psychosis arise in patients over the age of 65 years. Prevalence of psychotic disorders in the elderly ranges from 0.2%–4.7% in community-based samples to 10% in a nursing home population and as high as 63% in a study of Alzheimer’s patients. Risk factors associated with the development of psychotic symptoms and common causes of delirium are reviewed. Because age-related changes affect the pharmacokinetics of neuroleptics, the authors’ treatment recommendations, which include the use of traditional and novel antipsychotics, take into account the higher risk of side effects in the elderly.

J Clin Psychiatry 1998;59(suppl 1):5–10