Methylphenidate for apathy and functional status in Dementia of the alzheimer type

Prasad R. Padala, William J. Burke, Valerie K. Shostrom, Subhash C. Bhatia, Steven P. Wengel, Jane F. Potter, Frederick Petty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Apathy is the most common behavioral problem in persons with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT). Treatment of apathy in DAT is not systematically studied. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the response of apathy to methylphenidate treatment and to examine whether functional status improved. METHODS: The authors conducted a 12-week open-labeled study with immediate release formulation of methylphenidate. Twenty-three patients with DAT scoring >40 on the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES) were recruited. Repeated measures analysis of variance and correlation analysis were performed. RESULTS: None of the patients dropped out of the study because of adverse events. Significant improvement in apathy was noted during 12 weeks. Significant improvement was also noted in depression, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and functional status. There was no correlation between changes in the AES and depression scores. CONCLUSIONS: Methylphenidate was well tolerated in these patients with DAT. Apathy improved with the use of methylphenidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-374
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Apathy
  • Dementia
  • Functional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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