Navigation Links
Antipsychotics Up Death Risk in Alzheimer's Patients
Date:1/9/2009

Long-term study says the drugs should only be used short-term, as last resort

FRIDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Alzheimer's patients who are prescribed antipsychotic drugs face a higher risk of death than similar patients not given these medications do, British researchers report.

While the short-term use of antipsychotics has been found to benefit Alzheimer's patients, studies have found that prolonged use can have serious side effects, including Parkinson-like symptoms, sedation, chest infections, decline in brain function, stroke and death.

"It's an eye-opening study since it was one of the few non-company sponsored studies to look at long-term risks," said dementia expert Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of the biological psychiatry division at Duke University.

"Antipsychotics are not and never were indicated for use in people with dementia," he added. "But millions of elderly [people] were put on antipsychotics in nursing homes, often with little or no evidence to support such use."

For the study, lead researcher Dr. Clive Ballard, of the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases at King's College London, and his colleagues randomly assigned 128 Alzheimer's patients to one of several antipsychotics or a placebo. The antipsychotic drugs included thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, trifluorperazine or risperidone.

The researchers found that, for the whole study period, the risk of death was 42 percent lower among people taking a placebo compared with those taking antipsychotics.

After one year of follow-up, 70 percent of the patients taking antipsychotics were still living, compared with 77 percent of those on placebo.

But after two years, 46 percent of those taking antipsychotics were alive, compared with 71 percent of those taking placebo. And after three years, only 30 percent of those on antipsychotics were alive, compared with 59 percent of those taking a placebo, the researchers found.

The findings were published online Jan. 8 in The Lancet Neurology.

Despite the findings, Doraiswamy said there's still a place for antipsychotics in some people with dementia. "If there is no other way to stop an Alzheimer's patient from acting dangerously and all other measures have failed, then antipsychotics can be used as a measure of last resort, but only for the shortest possible time at the lowest possible dose," he said.

The study authors agreed.

"Our opinion is that there is still an important but limited place for atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of severe neuropsychiatric manifestations of Alzheimer's disease, particularly aggression," the researchers wrote. "However, the accumulating safety concerns, including the substantial increase in long-term mortality, emphasize the urgent need to put an end to unnecessary and prolonged prescribing."

William Thies, chief medical officer at the Alzheimer's Association, said his group suggests that "non-pharmacological treatments" may be as effective as the antipsychotic drugs and should be considered first.

"Non-pharmacological treatments are things like changing the environment of the patient, changing the way the patient is addressed, and eliminating certain triggering events that may cause deteriorations in patient behavior," he said.

More information

For more on Alzheimer's disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association.

What You Need to Know About Antipsychotics

"Families need to be on the lookout and question their doctor closely if he or she recommends an antipsychotic for Alzheimer's," said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of the biological psychiatry division at Duke University.

He said families need to ask:

  • What is it for?
  • Why did you choose it? Is this the lowest dose that works?
  • Have you considered an alternative?
  • How long will my relative need to be on it?
  • How often will my relative be checked for side effects?



SOURCES: P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., chief, biological psychiatry division, Duke University, Durham, N.C., William Thies, Ph.D., chief medical officer, Alzheimer's Association; Jan. 8, 2009, The Lancet Neurology, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Most Newer Antipsychotics No Better Than Older Ones, Just Different
2. Rutgers receives $2.3 million federal grant to research use, safety of antipsychotics
3. Newer antipsychotics no better than older drug in treating child and adolescent schizophrenia
4. FDA Orders Warning Label on Older Antipsychotics
5. Antipsychotics Dangerous for Elderly With Dementia
6. Short-term use of antipsychotics in older adults with dementia linked to serious adverse events
7. Antidepressant as Good as Antipsychotics for Dementia
8. Cell death from cytomegalovirus may bring new life to treatment of retinal disease
9. Preventive Use of Antibiotics Cuts ICU Deaths
10. Sinovac Announces that Government Investigation Rules Out Healives Role in Childs Death
11. Newborn Hospital Deaths Highest for Those Without Insurance
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is underway. Brooklyn-based ... experience for the millions of people who require these medical transport services annually. ... through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth an industry-changing app ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws ... a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula ... , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library ... City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ... for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, ... Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in ... the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical ... Preservative), Formulation (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast ... The global pharmaceutical excipients ... 2021 at a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" report ... The report contains up to date financial data derived from ... of major trends with potential impact on the market during ... market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional and country ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: