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Charity: Antipsychotic drugs should be last resort

Charity: Antipsychotic drugs should be last resort
1st September 2008

A leading charity has said that antipsychotic drugs should be given to the elderly only as a last resort.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, suggested that the over-prescription of such drugs is a "serious breach of human rights".

Furthermore, he stated that care home staff should be given specialist training to provide effective care for people with dementia.

Mr Hunt commented: "Alzheimer's Society research shows that specialist training could reduce antipsychotic use by 50 per cent and save the UK £35 million a year if it was mandatory."

He added that the forthcoming National Dementia Strategy provides a great opportunity to bring an end to the over-prescription of antipsychotic medicines.

A study just published in the British Medical Journal has found that dementia patients who take antipsychotic drugs are at a significantly increased risk of having a stroke.

Furthermore, the researchers suggested that their findings were consistent with data gained from earlier placebo-controlled studies.

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