Dementia medication danger
As dementia patient numbers rise and the search for early diagnosis and better treatment continues disturbing news is emerging around life expectancy for those being administered antipsychotic drugs.
The lives of more than 100,000 people with Alzheimer's disease in Britain are at risk because of the toxic effects of the "liquid cosh", powerful sedatives widely used to suppress difficult behaviour, a study shows.
The drugs, called antipsychotics, were developed for patients with schizophrenia and similar mental illnesses but are also prescribed to control agitation, delusions and aggression which can occur in patients with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Researchers have now found that the death rate of patients dosed with the drugs was 70 per cent higher after three years, compared with those given placebo.
“'Liquid cosh' treatment kills dementia patients” reports The Independent, referring to antipsychotic drugs to control aggressive or violent behaviour among people with dementia.
The story comes from a study comparing survival rates for one group of patients continuing to take their prescribed antipsychotic drugs, and another group that was switched to a placebo for 12 months. After three years, 30% of the antipsychotic group were still alive compared with 59% of those on placebo.