Effect of Dextromethorphan-Quinidine on Agitation in Patients With Alzheimer’s Dementia

Patients with Alzheimer’s disease frequently experience agitation and other behavioral problems. With heightened awareness on the harms and lack of benefit of prescribing antipsychotics in this population, there exists a need for safe and effective alternative therapies.

A study on a novel combination medication, dextromethorphan-quinidine (Nuedexta®), recently published in JAMA describes the potential effectiveness of this medication for the management of agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.  JL Cummings and colleagues led a Phase 2 randomized, multicenter, double-blind placebo-controlled 10 week trial using a sequential parallel comparison design on patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease and agitation. Patients assigned to the dextromethorphan-quinidine group reported improvement in behavioral symptoms compared to those receiving placebo that was felt to be clinically significant. Although more research is needed, this two drug combination may offer relief of agitation in some patients.

Link to JAMA (09/22/2015)