Study Suggests Some Antipsychotics Unsafe for Elderly

Four of the antipsychotic drugs most often prescribed off-label to treat older patients may be ineffective and unsafe, according to a new study.

The study looked at 332 patients over the age of 40 who took the atypical antipsychotics (AAPs) olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), and risperidone (Risperdal), reports Science Daily. The patients had been diagnosed with psychosis connected to schizophrenia, mood disorders, PTSD, or dementia.

Science Daily writes that the five-year study showed that one-third of the patients who were using the medications for almost a year developed metabolic syndrome—a medical disorder that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Other patients—nearly 25 percent—developed severe side effects within two years of use. About 50 percent had developed non-serious effects by that time.

Despite the study results, the researchers state that they do not think that AAPs should be banned from use with older patients suffering from specified psychotic disorders. However, they do say that long-term off-label use of these drugs in older patients should be avoided and if prescribed, dosages should be kept low and the effects should be closely monitored, according to Science Daily.

The study was conducted by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Stanford University and the University of Iowa, has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous drug, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation and to find out if a dangerous drugs lawyer may be able to help you.