Older Adults with Dementia Taking Antipsychotic Drugs are at Higher Risk for Death
Published June 4, 2007
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    Millions of Americans suffer from dementia and many are given antipsychotic drugs for behaviors such as agitation or verbal and physical aggression. But according to a new study published in the June 5 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine adults with antipsychotic prescriptions had a higher risk for death than adults without these prescriptions. The use of older (also called conventional) antipsychotic medications was associated with higher risk for death than the use of newer (also called atypical) drugs. Excess risk was evident at 30 days and seemed to continue to 180 days. The six-year study looked at health and death records of more than 27,000 adults older than 66 with dementia. The researchers could not be certain that they had accounted for all other possible causes for their findings other than prescriptions. The exact cause of the deaths was not known. Examples of conventional drugs are chlorpromazine and haloperidol. Examples of atypical medications are olanzapine, risperidone, and quetiapine.
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