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Esther Heerema, MSW

Antipsychotic Medication Use in Dementia: Good, Bad or Neutral?

By March 3, 2013

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Antipsychotic medications have been prescribed for people with dementia for everything from restlessness, wandering, insomnia, combativeness and anxiety. But, according to the US Federal Drug Administration, none of those conditions are approved reasons to use antipyschotics, also called neuroleptics.

So, why are they prescribed, then? And, do they help people or harm them? The answer depends on the situation, as is the case with the use of many medicines. For some, antipsychotic medications have significantly improved their quality of life. However, there are significant risks with antipsychotic medications for people who have Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias, and those potential risks, as well as the benefits, need to be acknowledged and weighed.

For more about the risks and benefits of antipsychotics for people living with dementia, as well as specific guidelines for its use, please see the following article recently written to answer some of the questions about this class of medicine:

Should Your Loved One With Dementia Really Be Taking Antipsychotic Medications?

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