A case study in the treatment of dementia with Lewy bodies

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the assessment and treatment of an elderly woman with parkinsonism, progressive memory and cognitive deficits, and visual hallucinations.

Method

The patient presented with a 10-year history of hand tremors, an 8-year history of short-term memory problems, and a 3–4-year history of visual hallucinations. Treatment with donepezil and rivastigmine (successively) did not produce the desired benefits. Then she was started on galantamine 4 mg b.i.d. (escalated to 8 mg b.i.d.).

Results

The patient's social interaction improved and cognitive decline appeared to be stabilized; hallucinations and agitation were also better controlled.

Conclusion

By current criteria, this subject would be labeled as having Parkinson's disease with dementia, although she exhibited the core features of dementia with Lewy body disease. As suggested in previous studies, cholinesterase inhibitors may be effective in treating psychotic symptoms; however, all currently available agents may not be equally effective.

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