Charles bonnet syndrome: treating nonpsychiatric hallucinations
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Consult Pharm. 2013 Mar;28(3):184-8. doi: 10.4140/TCP.n.2013.184.
Charles bonnet syndrome: treating nonpsychiatric hallucinations.
Nguyen ND1, Osterweil D, Hoffman J.
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is characterized by recurrent or persistent complex visual hallucinations that occur in visually impaired individuals with intact cognition and no evidence of psychiatric illness. Patients usually retain insight into the unreal nature of their hallucinations.3,4 CBS is often misdiagnosed, and predominantly affects elderly patients with vision changes (e.g., age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataract). While many require only the assurance of the benign nature of the hallucinations, nonpharmacological and pharmacological interventions have been reported to be useful in the treatment of CBS. This case involves an 83-year-old female, with a two-year history of CBS, who presented to the clinic with worsening visual hallucinations over the past few months. She was starting to lose insight into her hallucinations secondary to her new diagnosis of dementia. Several pharmacological agents were explored to determine the most appropriate choice for our patient. Ultimately, this patient was started on donepezil (reported to be successful in a CBS case report), which helped improve her cognitive function. At future follow-up visits, her hallucinations improved and her cognitive function stabilized. Pharmacists should be aware of CBS and its treatment options to properly assist physicians in the medication-selection process to alleviate distress experienced by patients with CBS. In patients who may benefit from pharmacological treatment, physicians should weigh the risks and benefits of the different treatment options. Donepezil can be a favorable option in CBS patients with Alzheimer's type dementia.