Friday, January 9, 2009

Antipsychotic Use in Elders With Alzheimer's Leads to Large Increase in Mortality

There is a large increased long-term risk of mortality in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who are prescribed antipsychotic medication, according to the long-term follow-up results of the Dementia Antipsychotic Withdrawal Trial (DART-AD) published early online and in the February edition of The Lancet Neurology.

While there is evidence of modest short term benefits of antipsychotic treatment for the neuropsychiatric symptoms of AD, there is also clear evidence of an increase in adverse effects. However, all the data regarding mortality so far relate to short term follow-up of 12 weeks or less.

Clive Ballard, MD, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, London, United Kingdom, and colleagues have provided the first long-term follow-up data for AD patients given antipsychotic drugs.


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