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Antipsychotics Increase Risk of Death in Patients with Alzheimer's

Results from a study published in the Lancet Neurology this Friday, show a 42 percent increased risk of death in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who took antipsychotic medications over 12 months compared with patients not taking the medications.

The results also showed that the risk of death continued to increase over the 3-year study period in patients who continued on the antipsychotics. This is the first long-term study to confirm concerns around the use of these drugs in this patient population seen in 12-week trials.

Symptoms of AD can include aggression, delusions, and hallucinations, so patients may be prescribed antipsychotics to help control the aggression and hallucinations. However, noted side effects include stroke and respiratory problems.

While antipsychotics currently carry an FDA Black Box warning for risk of mortality, many dementia patients in long-care facilities may be given these drugs.

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Published on Jan-9-09


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