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Alzheimer's in Long-Term Care--Treatment for Agitation

This study has been completed.
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Washington Identifier:
First received: September 8, 2005
Last updated: June 26, 2012
Last verified: June 2012
The purpose of this study is to see if a medication called prazosin is useful in the treatment of agitation and aggression in persons with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other types of dementia in late life.

Condition Intervention
Alzheimer Disease Psychomotor Agitation Drug: prazosin Drug: placebo (inert substance)

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Alzheimer's in Long-Term Care--Treatment for Agitation

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Washington:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mean Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) at Last Observation [ Time Frame: Week 8 ]
    The Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) is a 7 point scale, where 1 indicates "markedly improved," 4 indicates "no change," and 7 indicates "markedly worse."

  • Change in Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) Total Score Over the Course of Study Participation [ Time Frame: Weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8 (change from Baseline) ]

    The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) is a 12-item scale that assesses the frequency and severity of behavioral symptoms in patients with dementia. Each Neuropsychiatric Inventory item ranges from 0 to 12. Therefore the Neuropsychiatric Inventory total score has a minimum total value of 0 and maximum 144, where 144 indicates higher levels of behavioral symptoms.

    A change in Neuropsychiatric Inventory total score that is a negative number (that is, an Neuropsychiatric Inventory score decrease), indicates behavioral improvement.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Number of Behavioral Assessment Visits Completed [ Time Frame: Last behavioral assessment (Baseline, Weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8) ]
    This measure reflects the length of time participants remained in the study. There were 6 behavioral assessment visits included in the protocol.

  • Change in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) Total Score Over the Course of Study Participation [ Time Frame: Weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8 (change from Baseline) ]

    The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) is an 18-item scale that rates psychiatric symptoms. Each item ranges from 1 to 7. Therefore, the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale total score ranges from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 126, where 126 indicates higher levels of behavioral symptoms.

    A change Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale score that is a negative number (that is, a Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale score decrease), indicates behavioral improvement.

Enrollment: 24
Study Start Date: January 2001
Study Completion Date: September 2009
Primary Completion Date: September 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: prazosin Drug: prazosin

Participants taking prazosin. Prazosin was administered as 1 or 2 mg capsules. Doses were initiated at 1 mg at bedtime. Titration based on tolerability was conducted up to a dose of 2 mg in the morning plus 4mg at bedtime.

Duration was 8 weeks.

Other Name: Minipress
Placebo Comparator: placebo (inert substance) Drug: placebo (inert substance)
Placebo is an inert substance used as a standard comparator in clinical pharmacologic trials. Duration is 8 weeks.

Detailed Description:
Although the occurrence of disruptive agitation behaviors likely are influenced by environmental/ interpersonal factors, it is also likely that behaviorally relevant neurobiologic abnormalities lower the threshold for the expression of such behavior in Alzheimer's disease. Because of the success prazosin has had in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, it is thought that it could be used similarly with disruptive agitation. Originally designed to evaluate Alzheimer's disease patients in nursing homes, the study now includes outpatients. It is a 9-week placebo-controlled trial.

Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • No age limit
  • probable/possible Alzheimer's disease diagnosis
  • disruptive agitated behaviors (e.g., irritability, aggression, uncooperativeness, pacing)
  • no hypotension
  • no concurrent use of alpha-1-blockers
  • no delirium, schizophrenia, mania, psychotic symptoms.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Cardiovascular: unstable angina, recent myocardial infarction, second or third degree atrioventricular (AV) block, preexisting hypotension (systolic blood pressure less than 110) or orthostatic hypotension
  • Other medical exclusions: chronic renal or hepatic failure, or any unstable medical condition
  • Exclusionary medications: current treatment with prazosin, other alpha-1-blockers
  • Current enrollment in a separate investigational drug trial
  • Psychoactive medications: subjects may be psychoactive medication-free or be partial responders (by subjective assessment of referring health care professional) to one psychoactive medication from any of the following classes: antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or buspirone. Partial response is defined as some improvement in agitated behavior but persistence of agitated behaviors severe enough to cause patient distress and/or difficulty with caregiving. Although not formally rated, this improvement is equivalent to a Clinical Global Impression of Change (CGIC) rating of no more than minimal improvement (improvement is noticed by not enough to improve patient function or caregiver's practical management of the patient).
  • Psychiatric/behavioral: lifetime schizophrenia; current delirium, mania, depression, or uncontrolled persistent distressing psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions), substance abuse, panic disorder, or any behavior which poses an immediate danger to patient or others or which results in the patient being too uncooperative to meet the requirements of study participation.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00161473

United States, Washington
Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System
Seattle, Washington, United States, 98108
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Washington
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Principal Investigator: Elaine R Peskind, MD Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System
  More Information

Responsible Party: University of Washington Identifier: NCT00161473     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 16508-A
5R01AG018644 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
5P50AG005136 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
Study First Received: September 8, 2005
Results First Received: February 24, 2012
Last Updated: June 26, 2012

Keywords provided by University of Washington:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Alzheimer Disease
Psychomotor Agitation
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurocognitive Disorders
Mental Disorders
Neurologic Manifestations
Psychomotor Disorders
Neurobehavioral Manifestations
Signs and Symptoms
Antihypertensive Agents
Adrenergic alpha-1 Receptor Antagonists
Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
Adrenergic Antagonists
Adrenergic Agents
Neurotransmitter Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on September 21, 2017