Wednesday, May 28, 2008

182 Antipsychotic drugs kill AD patients

My dad was on an anti-psychotic drug. The doctors at Yale put him on it when he first started getting violent. The drug is mentioned in this article, which says dementia patients on such drugs are more likely to die.
Elderly people with dementia who are given antipsychotics, even for a very short period of time, are more likely to end up in the hospital or even die....However, the problems underlying the need for such medications, behavioral problems such as aggression and agitation, are very real, and the alternatives to antipsychotics are limited...
Yeah--treat the aggression and maybe kill the patient, or allow the patient to harm or even kill someone else? That's a conundrum. And yes, I'm being sarcastic.
According to information gleaned from medical records, community-dwelling adults who had recently received a prescription for a newer antipsychotic medication were 3.2 times more likely than individuals who had received no antipsychotic therapy to be hospitalized or to die during 30 days of follow-up.
Of course, my dad was on them for at least 6 months before he died, and he wasn't given them only when he went into the nursing home. Honestly I don't believe they contributed to his death.
(Screenprint; PMID: 18504337)


Anonymous said...

Before the antipsychotic drugs, my mother would scream when being made to take her shower or while undressing at bedtime. She would also nervously pace back and forth around the house, suddenly start crying for no apparent reason, and become agitated and even violent (fortunately I am bigger and stronger than her). She was very difficult to control, even running out the front door in her undies or naked. We were on the verge of having her placed in a facility.

The doctor then prescribed Zyprexa and it has been a blessing. Her emotional highs and lows are suppressed, and the violence, screaming and agitation are gone. She is much easier for us to cope with and manage. This drug has extended her at-home life for perhaps another year or so.

And if it does end up shortening her remaining time, perhaps that would be for the best, too. I hate what this horrible disease has turned my formerly intelligent, capable and loving mother into.

e said...

Ah, well said.
My mom has been taking zyprexa for the past year... tho I am experimenting with taking her off of it as I just don't like the idea of shoving pills down her throat.
But I will say that it worked quite well in helping her paranoia and delusions. She was convinced that a man from her former apartment complex was following her and rubbing up against her trailer every night.
The Zyprexa helped her relax and stimulated her appetite somewhat as well... In fact, that is the main reason that I asked her doctor if we could take her off of it... she does eat everything in sight! And so far, it's been a week and things seem ok. It could have been that the excitement and stress of the move overstimulated her to the point of delusions.
Doc says she can go back on anytime if she needs it.

But I agree... in these cases a higher risk of death is maybe not so much a curse as a blessing...

juju said...

I hope these drugs do help to expeidite thier death. These people have no idea where they are. I am in the unfortunate situation with my mother in law having to be in our house after being thrown out of her retirement community. I cant wait to put her in a lock down facitlity. These people do not need to be in the general population. It is the only part of Obama Care that I agree with, these people need an end of life strategy.

Ajlouny said...

If patients are prescribed an anti-psychotic, it should be a very low dose for the shortest period necessary.