Antipsychotics raise elderly death rates, study finds

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Proving again the dangers of antipsychotics, a new study finds that the drugs increase the risk of death among older patients.

Both newer atypical antipsychotics and older conventional drugs increased death rates by as much as one-and-a-half times among elderly patients with dementia, according to Canadian researchers. Conventional antipsychotics seemed to be the more dangerous of the two types of drugs, they found. Antipsychotics, which typically treat conditions such as schizophrenia, are often used to treat behavioral problems associated with dementia.

While the risk for individual patients is slight, the findings likely indicate that older patients are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of antipsychotics, study author Dr. Sudeep Gill said. The study appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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