Friday, December 14, 2007

Antipsychotics and stroke risk in dementia patients

Neuropsychiatric symptoms, including hallucinations, agitation, delusions and aggressive behaviour are commonly seen in elderly patients with dementia. Antipsychotic drugs have been shown to be effective in treating some of these symptoms although the side effects associated with first-generation antipsychotics severely limited their use. The introduction of second-generation antipsychotics in the 1980s and 1990s which had much less severe side effects led to them becoming more popular but recent research has linked them with an increased risk of stroke. A U.S. study of 14,029 patients aged over 65 compared the risk of stroke in patients using first-generation antipsychotics, second-generation anti-psychotics and no antipsychotic drugs at all and found no difference in the level of risk of stroke between the groups.

Barnett, Mitchell J., Wehring, Heidi and Perry, Paul J. - Comparison of risk of cerebrovascular events in an elderly VA population with dementia between antipsychotic and non-antipsychotic users Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology December 2007, 27(6), 595-601

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