Relapse Rates and Effects of Dementia-Related Psychosis: Clive Ballard, MD

Clive Ballard, MD, spoke on safety data presented at this year’s AAIC meeting, as well as the impact of symptoms associated with DRP, which can be distressing for individuals and their families.

“I think it’s really important not to forget that there are 45 million people or more worldwide who already have Alzheimer disease or other dementias at clinically significant stages, [and] more than half of those individuals will develop psychosis.” 

Clive Ballard, MD, pro-vice chancellor and executive dean for medicine, and professor of age related diseases, University of Exeter, spoke with NeurologyLive, delved into the positive effects of pimavanserin (Nuplazid; Acadia) in treating dementia-related psychosis (DRP), identified in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and consequent safety data presented at the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, held July 26-30, 2021. The study on the effects of pimavanserin in treating DRP yielded positive results, Ballard said, as relapse rates decreased considerably while maintaining a strong tolerability profile.

While study findings indicate patients with dementia-related psychosis (DRP) had a lower risk of relapse when taking pimavanserin, the impact of DRP itself be frustrating and frightening for both patients and their families. The distressing nature of psychosis is further complicated by its correlation with institutionalization in nursing homes or hospital admission. Ballard called attention to addressing this currently unmet need, working to identify a safe and effective treatment for DRP, as antipsychotics offer limited benefit while posing the threat of adverse events. 

For more coverage of AAIC 2021, click here.

1. Tariot P, Cummings JL, Soto-Martin ME, et al. Trial of Pimavanserin in Dementia-Related Psychosis. N Engl J Med. 2021; 385:309-319. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034634.
2. Demos G, Foff EP, McEvoy B, Skoog B. Pimavanserin and concomitant antidementia medication use in patients with neurodegenerative and/or neurovascular disorders: safety outcomes from pooled clinical data and the HARMONY study. Presented at: AAIC 2021; Denver, Colorado; July 26-30. Poster 57661. 
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