ANCHOR LEAD: MORE RISKS ARE BEING ATTRIBUTED TO A CLASS OF ANTIPSYCHOTIC MEDICATIONS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Atypical antipsychotics are a class of medication often used to manage people with certain behavioral problems related to Alzheimer’s disease, but the list of potential negative side effects keeps growing, with the latest study suggesting an increased risk of community acquired pneumonia . Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says there still is a place for atypical antipsychotic use.
LYKETSOS: Remember it’s all a risk/benefit equation. Keep in mind there are some people with dementia with behavior disturbances of such severity that unless the behavior disturbances are managed effectively they are at very high risk just from the disturbance that they have. The uncertainty is whether they can actually help with them. Clinicians will tell you that many patients do get better only with these drugs. And in that context the risks associated with mortality and cerebrovascular disease, so far for these very severely ill patients, are still reasonable risks. :33
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.