Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Anti-psychotics associated with mental deterioration in Alzheimer's patients

  • Comment
Long-term use of widely-prescribed anti-psychotic drugs is associated with a significant deterioration in the verbal and thinking skills of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and offers no long-term benefit for patients, according to new research.

The study, funded by UK charity the Alzheimer’s Research Trust and carried out by researchers at Kings College London and at the Universities of Oxford and Newcastle, showed deterioration in patients’ verbal fluency and cognitive ability six months after treatment was started.

Findings were based on a five-year study involving 165 patients at nursing homes in the UK.

The neuroleptics in the study were thioridazine (Melleril), chlorpromazine (Largactil), haloperidol (Serenace), trifluoperazine (Stelazine) and risperidone (Risperdal). Patients continued to take their prescribed neuroleptic drug for 12 months or took a matched placebo.

Professor Clive Ballard, Professor of Age Related Disorders at King’s College London, and lead researcher on the project, said: ‘It is very clear that even over a six month period of treatment, there is no benefit from neuroleptics in treating the behaviour in people with Alzheimer’s disease when the symptoms are mild. This study provides an important evidence base to inform this decision-making process.’

Up to 60% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in nursing homes are prescribed the drugs, also known as neuroleptics, as a treatment for behavioural symptoms such as aggression.

PLoS Medicine

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.