The side effects associated of newer antipsychotic drugs outweigh the clinical benefits when prescribed to people withAlzheimer's disease who sufferdelusions, aggression, hallucinations benefit forsome patients, research shows.
The five-year trial on 421 people with Alzheimer's disease randomly assigned them to either newer antipsychotics; olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone or a placebo.
The researchers judged each medication's overall benefits and risks by measuring how long a patient stayed on the drugbefore discontinuing it for any reason.
Findings show that on average the patients in the studyquit taking theirdrugsafter eight weeks, regardless of whether they were taking active medication or placebo.
The reasonvolunteers gave for stopping theantipsychotics wastroubling side effects such as sedation, confusion and weight gain compared with placebo.
New England Journal of Medicine (2006) 355:1525-1538