What is the role of drug treatment for frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Howard S Kirshner, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Treatment of depression with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as paroxetine, sertraline, or citalopram, is frequently helpful. Trazodone may be helpful for sleep and for behavioral aberrations. These agents have been shown to be effective in small clinical trials. [12, 13, 14]

Neurotransmitter-based treatments, analogous to the use of dopaminergic agents in Parkinson disease or anticholinesterase agents in Alzheimer disease, have not proven beneficial in frontotemporal lobe dementia (FTD). There is not clearly a rationale for use of anticholinesterase drugs, such as donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), or galantamine (Razadyne), since there is no definite cholinergic deficiency in FTD, [15] but these drugs are widely used. Anecdotally, they may improve memory but may worsen behavioral symptoms. The drug memantine has been thought to be helpful, but 2 recent, small clinical trials have not supported a benefit of this agent. [16, 17]


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