Alzheimer's Patients Do Not Benefit From Antipsychotic Drugs

Armen Hareyan's picture

Alzheimer's patients don't show significant improvement of cognitive decline and neuropsychiatric problems when taking antipsychotic drugs.

A team of researchers from King's College Hospital in London examined 165 patients taking antipsychotic drugs. Half of the patients stopped using the drugs and the other half went on with taking the drugs. Researchers screened patients after 6 and 12 months to see if the are any differences between the groups.


Those taking antipsychotic drugs did not show significant improvement compared to those not taking the drug. Only some patients with severe neuropsychiatric problems showed a little improvement thanks to continued therapy.

Dementia patients suffer from numerous neuropsychiatric problems, such as 'agitation, aggression, and psychosis'. These patients are generally being prescribed with antipsychotic drugs to be able to control symptoms. However, they also suffer from adverse side effects, such as 'stroke, sedation, edema, chest infections, and parkinsonism'.

Earlier studies have also showed that antipsychotic drugs are being prescribed off-label. Each drug is receiving FDA approval for an exact purpose, but some physicians are prescribing these drugs for other difficult-to-treat diseases. The studies found that the number of children and elderly prescribed with antipsychotic drugs is increasing. These patients mainly suffer from dementia and aggression, but physicians prescribed them newest drugs approved for treating mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

However, the study is too small to say that there is no benefit from antipsychotic drugs for Alzheimer's patients. Larger studies needed to see how useful antipsychotic drugs are and to find other treatments for patients with mental problems.