Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should Antipsychotic Drugs Be Taken For Dementia?

Date:
July 31, 2007
Source:
Harvard Medical School
Summary:
Antipsychotic drugs are approved mainly for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they are also used for many other purposes. One of the most controversial is reducing disruptive behavior among elderly people with dementia. Concern about this issue is not new.

Antipsychotic drugs are approved mainly for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but they are also used for many other purposes. One of the most controversial is reducing disruptive behavior among elderly people with dementia.

Related Articles


In the last few years, the FDA has required drug labels to carry warnings regarding this still-common practice, and studies continue to raise questions about its risks and benefits, reports the August 2007 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Concern about this issue is not new. A federal law passed in 1987 provides that residents in facilities receiving government support should not receive antipsychotics for problems that are simply inconvenient for caregivers—such as wandering, insomnia, or uncooperativeness—but only for agitated, aggressive, or psychotic behavior that is distressing to the patients or dangerous to others. But the guidelines have not prevented continued heavy use in institutions for the elderly.

There is some evidence that the drugs can help. A review of 16 studies found that some antipsychotics might reduce agitation, aggression, and psychosis, although there was little evidence about long-term use. But for many, the risks outweigh the benefits. The drugs may cause tremors, drowsiness, and weight gain, and they may raise the risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart arrhythmias.

Despite disappointing research findings, clinicians have not given up on the use of antipsychotic drugs for dementia. Dr. Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter notes, “If drug use is necessary, it makes sense to start at a low dose and gradually increase it. The need to continue the drug should be evaluated regularly.” Clinicians are advised to document their reasons for prescribing the drug and their understanding of the risks and benefits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard Medical School. "Should Antipsychotic Drugs Be Taken For Dementia?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727171819.htm>.
Harvard Medical School. (2007, July 31). Should Antipsychotic Drugs Be Taken For Dementia?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727171819.htm
Harvard Medical School. "Should Antipsychotic Drugs Be Taken For Dementia?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727171819.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins