WHY IS THE SENATE CONCERNED ABOUT A CLASS OF MEDICATIONS CALLED ‘ATYPICAL ANTIPSYCHOTICS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Atypical antipsychotic medications were the subject of a recent Senate subcommittee hearing because many are concerned about their increasing use in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s expert at Johns Hopkins, frames up use of these medications this way.
LYKETSOS: People with advanced Alzheimer’s disease frequently develop what we call behavioral symptoms like agitation, depression and the like, which can be fairly dangerous for them and their caregivers, so we often have to find ways to treat them effectively and we don’t have terribly effective medications, in fact the antipsychotics tend to be the most effective medications we have, although they’re also quite risky, with a higher risk of death and probably a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. So nowadays we have to balance our ability to look after someone with dementia so that the behavioral symptoms are controlled, against the risks of the treatment. :35
So judicious use of these medications will likely continue until better choices emerge. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.