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Agitation is a common complication of Alzheimer’s dementia (Agit-AD) associated with substantial morbidity, high healthcare service utilization, and adverse emotional and physical impact on care partners. There are currently no FDA-approved pharmacological treatments for Agit-AD. We present the study design and baseline data for an ongoing multisite, three-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of dronabinol (synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]), titrated to a dose of 10 mg daily, in 80 participants to examine the safety and efficacy of dronabinol as an adjunctive treatment for Agit-AD. Preliminary findings for 44 participants enrolled thus far show a predominately female, white sample with advanced cognitive impairment (Mini Mental Status Examination mean 7.8) and agitation (Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Clinician Agitation subscale mean 14.1). Adjustments to study design in light of the COVID-19 pandemic are described. Findings from this study will provide guidance for the clinical utility of dronabinol for Agit-AD. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02792257.
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