Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, affecting nearly 18 million people around the world. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by cognitive, functional, and behavioural decline. As the condition progresses the affected individual becomes increasingly dependent on others for assistance in performing all activities of daily living. Neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) such as agitation, psychosis, and apathy are very common in dementia and especially in AD. Agitation and apathy contribute to a tremendous amount of caregiver distress. Treatment guidelines recommend utilizing nonpharmacologic behavioural approaches in all instances. When behavioural interventions fail or when the behaviour is severe, medications are recommended. At present, no psychotropic agent presently available within the United States is FDA-approved for use in dementia complicated with behaviour disturbance.
Key words: agitation, apathy, behaviour interventions, atypical antipsychotics, dementia.