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Antipsychotics in dementia alert

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Older adults with dementia who receive antipsychotic medication are significantly more likely to be hospitalised or die than those who do not take the drugs, according to study findings.

Canadian researchers looked at more than 40,000 older adults with dementia over seven years. They found those receiving antipsychotics were almost four times as likely as controls to experience an adverse event – indicated by hospital admission or death – within 30 days of treatment initiation.

They said clinicians should use caution when treating older people with dementia with antipsychotic drugs, even as a short-term measure.

Archives of Internal Medicine (2008) 168: 1090–1096

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