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Certain Antipsychotics Up Risk of Death for Patients With Dementia: Study
Date:2/23/2012

one.

During the six-month study period, about 6,600 of the nursing home residents died from causes that were unrelated to cancer. Those who took haloperidol had double the risk of death compared to those who took risperidone, while those who took quetiapine (Seroquel) had a lower risk of death.

The researchers found that the effect of haloperidol was strongest during the first 40 days of treatment and that this did not change after doses were adjusted. Circulatory disorders accounted for 49 percent the deaths, respiratory disorders for 15 percent and brain disorders for 10 percent.

Not all antipsychotic medications carry the same risk of death in elderly patients and doctors "may want to consider this evidence when evaluating ... the best approach to treatment of behavioral problems," the researchers wrote.

Wolf-Klein said the study offers doctors valuable guidance going forward, and she called it "a landmark approach to addressing the pressing clinical need of practicing physicians confronted with behavioral issues in elderly demented patients."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about dementia.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Gisele Wolf-Klein, M.D., director, geriatric education, North Shore-LIJ Health System, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; British Medical Journal, news release, Feb. 23, 2012


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Certain Antipsychotics Up Risk of Death for Patients With Dementia: Study
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