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The impact of antipsychotics and neuropsychiatric symptoms on the quality of life of people with dementia living in nursing homes


van de Ven-Vakhteeva, Julia, Bor, Hans, Wetzels, Roland B., Koopmans, Raymond T. C. M., Zuidema, Sytse U.


International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Volume: 28, No.: 5, Pages.: 530-538

Year of Publication



Objective: This study aimed to establish whether antipsychotic (AP) use in patients with dementia negatively affects quality of life (QoL) independent of neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS). Method: We tested 290 patients with dementia living in nine nursing homes throughout the Netherlands in a longitudinal study. The measurements were repeated every 6 months over 2 years. We studied the change in NPS and AP use and their effect on QoL over time in two separate generalized estimating equations. We assessed QoL and NPS using the Qualidem questionnaire and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home Version (NPI-NH), respectively. Results: Antipsychotic prescriptions did not significantly change participant QoL, whereas NPI-NH total score changes consistently predicted changes in QoL. According to the Qualidem, the development of QoL in patients who chronically used APs did not differ from AP-free patients, except on the restless tense behavior subscale. AP-free patients’ “restless tense behavior” improved compared with patients who chronically used APs, who showed a slight deterioration in these symptoms; however, this effect did not significantly influence total QoL. Conclusion: Antipsychotic use does not necessarily have detrimental effects on the QoL of patients with dementia; rather, NPS consistently and negatively affects QoL. The use of APs to treat NPS is justified when used carefully (i.e., their benefits and side effects should be monitored). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Bibtex Citation

@article{van_de_Ven_Vakhteeva_2012, doi = {10.1002/gps.3858}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {aug}, publisher = {Wiley-Blackwell}, volume = {28}, number = {5}, pages = {530--538}, author = {Julia van de Ven-Vakhteeva and Hans Bor and Roland B. Wetzels and Raymond T. C. M. Koopmans and Sytse U. Zuidema}, title = {The impact of antipsychotics and neuropsychiatric symptoms on the quality of life of people with dementia living in nursing homes}, journal = {Int J Geriatr Psychiatry} }


antipsychotics use, dementia, drug usage, neuroleptic drugs, neuropsychiatric symptoms, nursing homes, psychiatric symptoms, quality of life

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Dementia (general / unspecified)

Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes

Behaviour, Quality of Life of Person With Dementia


Nursing Homes

Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Antipsychotics and antidepressants