Antipsychotics have been linked to stroke, blood clots, heart attack, or pneumonia.

The use of antipsychotic drugs in people with dementia has been associated with serious health problems for many years, but now a recent study published in the journal BMJ sheds new light on the scale of these risks and warns that they are higher than previously thought. .

Thus, research shows that antipsychotics are associated with a wider range of harmful effects, such as stroke, blood clots, heart attack, heart failure, fractures, pneumonia and acute kidney injury, compared to those who do not take them, especially after , as from the very beginning of treatment.

Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat highly agitated behavior, anxious delusions and hallucinations in people with dementia when non-pharmacological treatments have been tried and failed.

“Our goal is to use medications on as few people with dementia as possible, and when we do this they should be in the smallest doses and for the shortest possible time,” says Robert Howard, professor of geriatric psychiatry in the department of psychiatry at University College London. (Great Britain). “Although we have known about the potential dangers of treatment for years, this study highlights that the risks of pneumonia, bone fractures and stroke are especially high when people with dementia are treated with antipsychotic drugs,” he told Science Media Center. .

Despite safety concerns, they continue to be prescribed to treat behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia such as apathy, depression, aggression and psychosis.

However, previous warnings focused primarily on the risk of stroke and death, but this study found a wider range of side effects associated with antipsychotic use in this population.

To study these risks, data from more than In England, 170,000 people are diagnosed with dementia. The results were then compared between those who were prescribed antipsychotics and those who were not, taking into account various factors such as age, gender and medical history.

The results showed a significantly higher risk of adverse outcomes among antipsychotic users compared with non-users. In particular, the risks were most pronounced during the first week of treatment, especially for pneumonia. The study estimated that during the first six months of treatment Consumption of antipsychotic drugs may result in one new case of pneumonia for every nine patients treated..

The results of this study provide very good information about the risks associated with these drugs.

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