To revise diagnostic strategies for Alzheimer disease (AD), update recommendations on symptomatic treatment of dementia, and provide an approach to rapidly progressive and early-onset dementias.
Composition of the committee
Experts and delegates representing relevant disciplines from diverse regions across Canada discussed and agreed upon revisions to the 2006 guidelines.
The GRADE (grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluation) system was used to evaluate consensus on recommendations, which was defined as when 80% or more of participants voted for the recommendation. Evidence grades are reported where possible.
Important for FPs, despite advances in liquid biomarkers and neuroimaging, the diagnosis of dementia in Canada remains fundamentally clinical. New core clinical criteria for the diagnosis of AD now recognize less common, nonamnestic forms. Early-onset dementia, a rare but important condition, should prompt referral to specialists with access to genetic counselors. Rapidly progressive dementia, poorly defined in the literature, is described to facilitate detection of this rare but important condition. There are new expanded indications for cholinesterase inhibitors beyond AD, as well as guidelines for their discontinuation, which had not been previously described. New evidence regarding use of memantine, antidepressants, and other psychotropic medications in dementia care is presented.
Several recommendations from the Fourth Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia are relevant to FPs. For guidelines to remain useful, family physicians should participate in all stages of the ongoing development process, including topic selection.