Drug withdrawals are advised

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Providers should be taking most of their dementia residents off antipsychotics — and can generally do so without fear of relapse to dementia-related behaviors — researchers say.

Members of a subgroup of international healthcare research organization the Cochrane Collaboration looked at nine trials with 606 participants, most of them nursing home residents. The trials all tracked what happened when people with dementia were taken off antipsychotic medications.

Researchers found it's typically safe and advisable to halt antipsychotic regimes even for those showing signs of agitation, delusions, wandering, aggression or depression. Doing so should be “routine clinical practice,” they said.

An exception could be seniors with more severe neuropsychiatric symptoms before starting antipsychotics, they noted.