Antipsychotics associated with weight gain, lower levels of good cholesterol in Alzheimer's patients

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Two newer antipsychotic drugs have negative side effects in Alzheimer's patients. Both promote weight gain and one lowers levels of HDL "good" cholesterol, according to a new study.

The drugs associated with weight gain are olanzapine and quetiapine. Those who took olanzapine showed both weight gain and declines in HDL cholesterol. The study was to be published online April 15 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

"These findings are especially troubling, because antipsychotics are associated with a higher risk of death and cerebrovascular adverse events in patients with dementia," according to principal investigator Dr. Lon S. Schneider in an American Psychiatric Association news release. "They're often used to minimize disruptive symptoms (such as psychosis or agitation), but patients should be monitored more closely."

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