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Dementia: Some Antipsychotic Drugs Riskier Than Others

Among Drugs Used to Calm Agitated Dementia Patients, Newer Drugs Seem Safer Than Older

‘Antipsychotics Still Over-prescribed’

While it may be that newer second-generation antipsychotic drugs carry a lower risk of death for elderly patients with dementia than the older medications, the newer drugs are not without risk and are still over-prescribed, psychiatrist Jenny McCleery, MD, of the United Kingdom’s Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, tells WebMD.

“The use of these drugs in this patient population has been much too prevalent in the past and it still is,” she says.

She tells WebMD that many conditions may contribute to agitation and aggression in patients with dementia.

“That is why it is important to conduct a full assessment to look for these causes before antipsychotic drugs are prescribed,” McCleery says.

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