• In a series of 215 patients over 60 years of age who were hard to manage because of incontinence, resistive behavior, aggressiveness, and similar abnormalities, 131 were classified as showing predominance of overactivity; they were started on therapy with reserpine, a tranquilizing drug. The 62 classified as negativistic were started on therapy with Ritalin, a psychoanaleptic drug. The remaining 22 received both drugs.
The improvement in general was striking. Effects were sufficiently prompt to permit control of behavior by adjusting dosages and supplementing one drug with the other. The group who received both drugs was increased to 195. After four to eight months of medication it was possible to discontinue it entirely in 67 of the 215 patients without a return of the original abnormal behavior.
Neither advanced age nor cardiac disease was found to be a contraindication. The drugs not only reduced the burden of nursing care but also opened up possibilities of psychotherapy in some patients who had been confined for more than 40 years.
Ferguson JT, Funderburk WH. IMPROVING SENILE BEHAVIOR WITH RESERPINE AND RITALINNEW APPROACH WITH USE OF METHYL PHENYLPIPERIDYLACETATE. JAMA. 1956;160(4):259–263. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960390009003
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