June 02, 2008

MORE on zyprexa ..

Antipsychotic Drugs Triple Risk of Death for

Dementia Patients

> By Elizabeth Lopatto
> May 26 (Bloomberg) -- People with dementia more than tripled their
risk of death or hospitalization within a month of taking antipsychotic drugs
to silence their agitation, according to a study.
> Those taking a class of antipsychotic drugs including generics
haloperidol and loxapine were 3.8 times more likely to be hospitalized or die,
> according to research published today in the Archives of Internal
> Medicine. People taking newer medicines including Eli Lilly & Co.'s
> Zyprexa and Johnson & Johnson's Risperdal had 3.2 times more risk of
> complications or death.
> Antipsychotic drugs, often prescribed as a short-term treatment for
> dementia's confusion and rages, have been associated with falls, hip
> fractures, strokes and death in other scientific studies. The new
research collects the potential for death and all other serious risks together
for the first time.
> ``You have to think very carefully before you start these
therapies,'' said lead author Paula Rochon, a senior scientist at the Institute
for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. ``Is the risk worth the
potential > benefit? For many patients, there are probably other approaches you
could take that are equally effective and much safer.''
> The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2005 required makers of all
five of the newer antipsychotic drugs to include a ``black box'' warning
of death risk in elderly dementia patients.
> Even Worse?
> The risk to people taking the drugs is probably even higher than the
study of 41,000 dementia patients aged 66 and older, the authors said. The
study followed participants for 30 days and didn't include people with
severe injuries who weren't hospitalized.
> Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, according
to the National Institutes of Health. Other causes include stroke and brain
> tumors. Previous research has shown that Alzheimer's patients who are
given antipsychotics die six months earlier than patients who don't
take the drugs.
About 17 percent of dementia patients in nursing homes are prescribed
an antipsychotic drug within 100 days of their admission, the study
said. Nursing home patients taking the medications were twice as likely to
die or be hospitalized as those not taking the medicine, the study said.

``These therapies can be useful,'' Rochon said. ``The problem is when
they're used outside of their indication.''

No comments: