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Study shows Alzheimer’s Drugs May Raise Risk of Death

A study suggests that anti-psychotic drugs commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease may double a patient’s chance of dying within a few years. The paper’s lead author suggests that, for the vast majority of Alzheimer’s patients, taking the drugs may not be a worthwhile risk. The studies, which used the actual drug and placebos, showed that those who take the drug are more likely to die of pneumonia. In the United States, guidelines advise doctors to use anti-psychotic drugs cautiously and temporarily. However, in many nursing homes up to 60 percent of patients with dementia are routinely given the drugs for one to two years. As an alternative to writing prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs, doctors suggest using environmental or behavioral therapies. Experts believe that the drugs could create brain injuries and that their sedative effects make patients less able to exercise thus making them more susceptible to deadly infections. To read the full story, click here.

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