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Friday, March 30, 2007

Alzheimer's sufferers dying in sedative drug 'scandal'

Alzheimer's sufferers dying in drug 'scandal' - Guardian


"A class of drugs widely prescribed for people suffering from dementia is leading to the premature deaths of thousands of patients every year, according to research published today. Campaigners branded the continued use of the sedatives, called neuroleptics, a national scandal after a five-year study revealed that people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are twice as likely to die if they are prescribed them.

Neuroleptics are widely prescribed to help control symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia including agitation, hallucinations and erratic behaviour, despite only being licensed for use in people suffering from schizophrenia. The research suggests they are of little benefit to patients with milder symptoms, greatly increase their risk of dying prematurely, and that 45% of Alzheimer's patients in care homes are prescribed a neuroleptic drug."

Prescribed medications are often harmful and often inappropriately prescribed (as in these cases) and very poorly monitored. I doubt that the negligent prescribing will be punished at all...