Krista Lanctot, PhD: Managing Patients with Agitation

September 30, 2018

Lanctôt advised ruling out any possible underlying medical conditions that could be causing it, including pain, as well as starting with any non-pharmacologic interventions.

“When a patient is agitated, you definitely hear about it. The caregiver is going to give you a phone call.”

When patients with Alzheimer disease experience symptoms of agitation, the clinicians that are treating them are essentially guaranteed to receive a phone call about it, at the minimum.

According to Krista Lanctôt, PhD, it is a real problem in the care of these patients, and in recent years, it has become the focus of a multitude of treatments coming through the pipeline. As such, she issued a reminder to her fellow clinicians that when agitation episodes arise, ensuring the proper steps are taken to manage these patients is essential.

She advised ruling out any possible underlying medical conditions that could be causing it, including pain, as well as starting with any non-pharmacologic interventions. Reaching straight for the meds will not always provide the patient with the best outcome, despite the ease of their administration.

At the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s 19th Annual Meeting in Jersey City, New Jersey, the psychiatry and pharmacology professor at the University of Toronto and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute sat with NeurologyLive to talk about managing agitation in patients with Alzheimer.