Principles of Controlled Clinical Studies in Psychogeriatrics

  • J. Wertheimer


Therapeutic action in psychogeriatrics and geriatrics should take into account the multiple aspects of the total situation of the old people. The parameters of a person who is both old and sick are biological as well as psychological and social. Such a broadened awareness of a case confronting us offers a correspondingly widened potential field of action, in which the therapist is free to manoeuvre with flexibility and imagination, as he brings together social initiatives, the psychotherapeutic relationship and treatment with drugs. Medical prescriptions are, thus, made in relatively broad context; the pharmacological contribution in one case may be the predominant element, and in another it may serve more as an adjunct to other therapeutic measures. In an overall approach to the geriatric patient, a drug is one of the elements in re-adaptation, which may be defined as the aggregate of the medical, psychological and social measures employed to restore or maintain optimal autonomy. This fundamental concept should be recalled before we enter more specifically into the subject before us. The substances we study in psychogeriatric clinical pharmacology will never eliminate the need for the pluridimensional approach. Furthermore, a controlled test would constitute a serious violation of ethics should it entail the suspension of other therapeutic measures, even temporarily, in order to evaluate, separately, the efficacy of a drug.


Social Initiative Senile Dementia Endogenous Depression Cholinergic Hypothesis Therapeutic Team 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wertheimer
    • 1
  1. 1.Hôpital PsychogériatriquePrillySwitzerland

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