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.

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 August 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 August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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