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Anti-psychotic drugs can 'worsen' Alzheimer's

Anti-psychotic drugs can 'worsen' Alzheimer's
1st April 2008

A number of anti-psychotic drugs often given to Alzheimer's patients may actually exacerbate their condition.

This was the conclusion of a study conducted at Kings College London, Oxford and Newcastle Universities.

Researchers studied 165 individuals with advanced Alzheimer's disease who were given medication to control behaviour such as aggression.

It was found that the medication offered no long-term benefits for patients with mild symptoms of unruly behaviour – but did have a negative affect on their verbal fluency.

Lead researcher Professor Clive Ballard, 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.

"For people with more severe behavioural symptoms, balancing the potential benefits against adverse effects is more difficult."

Speaking about this discovery, the Alzheimer's Society stated that the widespread over prescription of anti-psychotics "must stop".

It added that adequate training can help care home staff or family members deal with the behavioural symptoms of the condition without resorting to medication.

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