- Explain to interested patients that antipsychotics drugs are licensed to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, but are sometimes used off-label to treat some aspects of dementia.
- Note that this study suggests that such use is accompanied by an increased for death, a risk that appears relatively quickly
KINGSTON, Ontario, June 4 -- Using antipsychotic drugs to treat patients with dementia may be fatal, according to researchers here.
They found a sharply increased risk of death that was evident within a month of starting the drugs, reported Sudeep Gill, M.D., of Queen's University and St. Mary's of the Lake Hospital, and colleagues, in the June issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
The mortality rate was higher with the older "conventional" medications than with the newer "atypical" antipsychotics, Dr. Gill said. "Our study adds to mounting concerns about the use of antipsychotic drugs in dementia."
The finding - from a large population-based cohort study here - reinforces warnings issued two years ago by both the FDA and Health Canada, Dr. Gill and colleagues reported.