Thursday, March 31, 2011

Antipsychotics and older people - new evidence on health risks

There has been much criticism in the past about the overuse of newer, atypical antipsychotic drugs to manage problem behaviour in elderly people with dementia. However, a new study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has suggested that alternative drugs may be just as dangerous. The researchers studied 10,900 people who were admitted to nursing homes in British Columbia between 1996 and 2006 and who received a psychotropic drug within 90 days of admission. The study found that people taking conventional antipsychotics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines were at higher risk of death and fractures of the femur. Levels of pneumonia and heart failure did not differ between those taking atypical antipsychotics and those taking other drugs.


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