Atypical Antipsychotics - Safe for Elderly Patients?
the MPR take:
The use of conventional antipsychotics among the elderly has been limited due to severe side effects, but atypical antipsychotics have become widely prescribed but with increasing concerns over safety risks such as stroke and mortality in elderly patients with dementia. A review in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging analyzed published research from 1994–2013 on atypical antipsychotics, dementia, elderly patients, psychosis, mood disorders, and side effects. Study results on the risk of all-cause mortality among dementia patients taking antipsychotics have been conflicting, but antipsychotics have been linked to a higher risk of pneumonia, arrhythmias, hypotension, skin rashes and neutropenia. Although antipsychotics have been shown to be beneficial to patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, little data exists on the efficacy in patients with mood disorders. It is recommended that elderly patients be prescribed the lowest effective dose for the shortest period possible. Overall, each patients must be evaluated on an individual basis regarding antipsychotic pharmacological therapy and existing risk factors.
The use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in the elderly has become wider and wider in recent years; in fact, these agents have novel receptor binding profiles, good efficacy with regard to negative symptoms, and reduced extrapyramidal symptoms.