Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Avoid antipsychotic drugs for elderly, experts urge, after death risk study

From CBC News:
Doctors should try not to prescribe antipsychotic drugs for elderly people with Alzheimer's, geriatricians said following new research that concluded taking people taking the medications had double the risk of dying during the course of the study.

Anti-psychotic medications are sometimes given to control symptoms of dementia in elderly patients, such as wandering and aggressiveness. Generally, the drugs work by subduing the patients, making them easier to manage in facilities such as nursing homes.

In the study appearing in Friday's issue of the medical journal Lancet Neurology, researchers followed 165 patients in Britain aged 67 to 100 with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease from 2001 to 2004.

Half of the participants continued taking their antipsychotic medications, including Risperdal (risperidone), Thorazine (chlorpromazine) and Stelazine (trifluoperazine). The other half got placebos. ...more

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