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Despite Abilify Side Effects, Antipsychotics Still Prescribed for Parkinson's

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Philadelphia, PAA recent study suggests that doctors have continued to prescribe antipsychotics to elderly people suffering from Parkinson's disease, despite Abilify side effects and other warnings related to the use of such drugs in older patients.

The Wall Street Journal reports that since doctors don't have many options for treating older Parkinson's patients with psychotic symptoms, many are using antipsychotics, which are approved to treat other psychotic issues such as schizophrenia.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, indicated that half of Parkinson's patients suffering from psychosis had been prescribed an antipsychotic. These drugs include AstraZeneca's Seroquel and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Abilify, the news source said.

Still, the study suggests that such prescriptions could be dangerous, as the pattern remained relatively consistent between 2002 and 2008, even though the US Food and Drug Administration issued a "black box" warning for the drugs in 2005, indicating the medications increased the risk of death in older patients with dementia.

The study authors reportedly examined figures from the Department of Veteran Affairs for fiscal 2002 and 2008, according to the news source. Dr. Daniel Weintraub, the study's lead author, said that the use of antipsychotics in older patients with Parkinson's seemed to worsen symptoms of the condition such as shaking and muscle stiffness.

"The issue [of antipsychotic use] has been neglected in Parkinson's," Weintraub noted. The study provides "additional evidence that antipsychotic use is common in Parkinson's disease," he added.

Concerns about the use of antipsychotics such as Abilify are nothing new, as the FDA's 2005 warning included 17 different trials that suggested patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with the medications were 1.6 times more likely to succumb to infections or heart issues than those who had not taken the drugs, according to the news source.

Despite this, however, Americans reportedly spent $16.1 billion on the medications in 2010, meaning they were the fifth-most popular drug class.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, Abilify, which comes in tablet form, can also lead to common side effects such as headache, nervousness, increased appetite and weight gain.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I was on abilify for a long time. I begged my doctor to take me off it because I went from a 46 to a size 12. She said I was doing better on it even though at that time she wanted to to some treatment to my brain, because no medication was working. I finally left and now at another doctor. He now has me on I don't know how many medications, three times a day. And I was told I am taking over legal dosage of xanax. And for months I told him that something was wrong... Anyways I now have a childlike mind at time's. I'm a mess! !! Why are these medications allowed if they are harming us!!!! I can't work, I have to have care etc. You should of seen me one year ago!!! These medications should be illegal just like street drugs. I am a recovering addict addicted to prescription drugs! !! I'm so just mad

Posted by

on
I take abilify and prozac and I have gained a lot of weight and cannot seem to get it off. I weigh 240 or something like that and gained from 225 up to 240 since I have been taking it. I also have a lot of headaches. They have gotten worse since I have been taking these 2 medicines. Can you please help?

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