Treatment of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Dementia.
De Giorgi R., Series H.
OPINION STATEMENT: Inappropriate sexual behavior (ISB) is a relatively common and potentially disruptive form of behavior in people with dementia. It can cause considerable distress and put placements and people at risk. Yet it is poorly researched and understood. In addition to non-pharmacological approaches to management, a wide range of classes of medication has been used in ISB, and the results have been reported as single cases or short series, though none has been the subject of a randomized clinical trial, in part because of the lack of a well-defined method of observing and measuring ISB, as well as the significant ethical considerations. Pharmacological treatments for which there is low-level evidence of efficacy in the literature include antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, cholinesterase inhibitors, hormonal agents, and beta-blockers. None of the drugs discussed here is licensed for use in ISB, and elderly people, particularly those with dementia, are at high risk of adverse effects. Caution is advised before using medication in this group of people. It is important to consider alternative non-pharmacological treatments, as well as discussing issues of ethics and consent with those involved, before initiating treatment. It is helpful to identify and monitor target symptoms. Pharmacological treatments should be started at low dose and titrated up slowly and carefully. Nevertheless, in some situations, medication may provide a useful part of a management plan for ISB.