Report: Danger tripled for seniors with dementia taking antipsychotics

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Report: Danger tripled for seniors with dementia taking antipsychotics
Report: Danger tripled for seniors with dementia taking antipsychotics
The risk of serious health problems, including death, are three times higher in seniors with dementia taking antipsychotic drugs, compared with those who don't, Canadian researchers say.

One in six new nursing home residents are started on antipsychotics within 100 days of their admission, noted researcher Dr. Paula Rochon of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. Often, they are prescribed to treat aggression rather than psychotic or schizophrenic episodes.

"Antipsychotic drugs should be prescribed with caution even for short-term therapy," said Rochon. Study results were published Monday the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The investigation lasted seven years and involved more than 40,000 seniors. Nearly 60% more deaths resulted in those taking antipsychotics while "serious health events" occurring with a month were more than three times as likely in those taking the antipsychotics, researchers said.