Key points

Key points

  • The risks and limited benefits of using antipsychotics for managing agitation, aggression, distress and psychosis in people living with dementia are well recognised and NICE recommends conducting a structured assessment to identify and address any underlying causes.

  • A person living with dementia should only try an antipsychotic if they are at risk of harming themselves or others, or if they are severely distressed. The antipsychotic should be tried alongside other activities to try to help their distress.

  • Medicines optimisation teams should continue to explore effective ways to implement the national policy to reduce the harms from inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics, in line with recommendations from the NICE guidelines on medicines optimisation, managing medicines for adults receiving social care in the community and managing medicines in care homes.

  • Dementia features in the NHS Long Term Plan published in January 2019.

  • Options for local implementation:

    • Review and, if appropriate, optimise prescribing of antipsychotics in people living with dementia, in accordance with the NICE guideline on dementia and the NICE quality standard on dementia.

    • Ensure that carers of people with dementia are offered education and skills training.