Holmes C, Hopkins V, Hensford C, MacLaughlin V, Wilkinson D, Rosenvinge H
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2002
To determine whether aromatherapy with lavender oil is effective in the treatment of agitated behaviour in patients with severe dementia.
A placebo controlled trial with blinded observer rater.
A long-stay psychogeriatric ward.
Fifteen patients meeting ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for severe dementia and suffering from agitated behaviour defined as a minimum score of three points on the Pittsburgh Agitation Scale (PAS).
A 2% lavender oil aromatherapy stream was administered on the ward for a two hour period alternated with placebo (water) every other day for a total of ten treatment sessions.
For each subject 10 total PAS scores were obtained. Five during treatment and five during placebo periods.
Nine patients (60%) showed an improvement, five (33%) showed no change and one patient (7%) showed a worsening of agitated behaviour during aromatherapy compared with placebo. A comparison of the group median PAS scores during aromatherapy showed a significant improvement in agitated behaviour during aromatherapy compared with placebo (median PAS scores 3 c.f. 4; Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks test p = 0.016 (one-tailed)).
Lavender oil administered in an aroma stream shows modest efficacy in the treatment of agitated behaviour in patients with severe dementia.
Holmes C, Hopkins V, Hensford C, Et Al. Lavender oil as a treatment for agitated behaviour in severe dementia: a placebo controlled study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002;17(4):305-308.