Antipsychotics boost heart attack risk in seniors, study finds

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Elderly dementia patients who are prescribed antipsychotics face a greater risk for a heart attack within the first month of treatment, a new study found.

A retrospective cohort study compared community-dwelling seniors taking antipsychotics to treat aggressive and agitated dementia behaviors with dementia patients not taking such medications. The group of seniors taking the medications had a hazard ratio of 2.19 compared to the group not taking the drugs. The heart attack risk gradually decreased over the next year, investigators from the Université de Montréal observed.

This finding is released as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launches its initiative to decrease the use of these types of medications in nursing homes. The study, which was published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, would seem to support the claim by advocacy groups that the these drugs have dangerous side effects in seniors with dementia.

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