Question: In adults with frontotemporal dementia presenting with agitation, how effective are pharmacological interventions, compared to treatment as usual, for managing agitation?


There is some weak evidence, from four very small randomised controlled trials (RCTs), that pharmacological interventions may have some effect on behavioural symptoms in people with frontotemporal dementia. Each of the four studies assessed a different intervention (paroxetine, trazodone, memantine, and single dose oxytocin) all of which showed some potential for the treatment of behavioural symptoms in frontotemporal dementia. Only trazodone showed a significant treatment effect specific to agitation, however, it should be noted that these data were derived from one very small, shot-term crossover trial. Larger scale, high quality parallel group RCTs are needed to confirm the initial observations reported in this evidence summary. Future trials should include long-term follow-up and direct comparisons of these and other pharmacological interventions.

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