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01.12.2017 | Protocol | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Systematic Reviews 1/2017

Comparative safety and efficacy of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis

Systematic Reviews > Ausgabe 1/2017
Jennifer Watt, Zahra Goodarzi, Andrea C. Tricco, Areti-Angeliki Veroniki, Sharon E. Straus
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13643-017-0572-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are highly prevalent in patients with dementia. Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies are commonly used to treat these symptoms, but their comparative safety and efficacy is unknown.


We will conduct a systematic review of the published and unpublished literature to retrieve all articles pertaining to outcomes of safety and efficacy associated with pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of BPSD for patients living in the community and institutionalized care settings. Our primary outcome of efficacy is a change in aggression. Our primary outcome of safety will be risk of fracture. These primary outcomes were chosen by stakeholders involved in the care of patients experiencing BPSD. Possible secondary outcomes of efficacy will include a change in agitation, depressive symptoms, and night-time behaviors. Possible secondary outcomes of safety will include the risk of stroke, falls, and mortality. All article screening, data abstraction, and risk of bias appraisal will be completed independently by two reviewers. If the assumption of transitivity is valid and the evidence forms a connected network, Bayesian random-effects pairwise and network meta-analyses (NMAs) will be conducted. Relative treatment rankings will be reported with mean ranks and the surface under the cumulative ranking curve.


We will identify the safest and most efficacious treatment strategies for patients with BPSD from among our most highly ranked treatments. The results of this study will be used to guide decision-making and improve patient care.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO registry number CRD42017050130.
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