Procedure To Reduce Use Of Drugs In Treating Dementia Patients Developed In Michigan

Apr 30, 2014

A new treatment procedure developed in Michigan can handle the most disturbing symptoms of dementia with the use of fewer drugs.  

University of Michigan Health System
Credit Courtesy Photo / University of Michigan Health System

A comprehensive approach to behavioral management developed in Michigan appears to provide better treatment than drugs for most dementia patients.  The 4 step process is known as DICE.  

DICE stands for

  • Describe the specifics of the symptoms
  • Investigate all aspects of the patients health
  • Create a plan to prevent behavioral issues
  • Evaluate the plan.

  University of Michigan Doctor Helen Kales says the effort can be used to handle the most common symptoms of dementia.  Kales says anti-psychotic drugs often have moderate benefits for dementia patients but pose a wide variety of risks.  According to Kales at times drugs will be the answer after trying DICE.  She says the drugs are appropriate in cases of severe depression, psychosis, or aggression that present risks to the patient or others. 

Listen to Doctor Helen Kales describe the steps in DICE.

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— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.