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Short-term anti-psychotic treatments 'increase hospitalisation risk for dementia patients'

Short-term anti-psychotic treatments 'increase hospitalisation risk for dementia patients'
27th May 2008

Elderly individuals with Alzheimer's who have been treated with a short-term course of anti-psychotic drugs are more likely to be hospitalised or die than other sufferers, it has emerged.

Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario assert that individuals who have taken a course of the medication are more than three-times as likely to end up in hospital, with people taking newer medications having a 3.2 times greater risk of complications or death.

They based this conclusion on a study of 41,000 dementia patients aged 66-years-old or more.

"You have to think very carefully before you start these therapies,'' said lead author Paula Rochon.

"Is the risk worth the potential benefit? For many patients, there are probably other approaches you could take that are equally effective and much safer.''

This follows news that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia has called for an end to prescribing anti-psychotic medications for dementia patients after it emerged that 70 per cent of people with the neurological condition take such medications.