If someone is suffering from dementia, it isn’t uncommon for them to suffer from psychosis. Many doctors prescribe antipsychotic medications to combat this issue. The problem is that these drugs can sometimes do more harm than good, according to some reports. Antipsychotic medications do a lot of good, but in the elderly, the side effects can often be very problematic. These include, amongst other things, an increased risk of stroke and early mortality.
In fact, according to one study, the risk of stroke or death increases by four times when antipsychotics are prescribed. This new study is turning a lot of heads because it does outline some of the dangers of turning to psychiatric medications to solve a problem associated with dementia, but just because these issues exist does not mean that it is right to stop taking these meds.
Are there ways around the use of antipsychotic meds? Of course. Is avoiding these medications something that should be a high priority for your family members? Like many other aspects of health care, there’s no easy answer here. They are extremely beneficial for some, but not for everyone. In fact, psychotic symptoms also have a negative outcome. They are linked with faster cognitive decline and premature death rates. Finding a way to minimize these outcomes is a must if you want to give your mom or dad the best quality of life possible. Antipsychotics are one of the most well established ways to do this.
One of the big takeaways from this study, according to Dr. Clive Ballard, is that new drug development is needed. Antipsychotic medications play a big role in the mental health field, but when treating the mental health of those impacted by things like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other cognitive diseases, this class of medication isn’t always the best choice. And as mentioned earlier in the article, it can sometimes even do more harm than good. Treating mental health is important, but it needs to be done correctly. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to treat this type of issue perfectly right now. And even more unfortunately, it’s something that is occurring on a regular basis in many elderly individuals suffering from dementia. Hopefully, this can act as a catalyst for change so that those suffering from Alzheimer’s can be provided with better medical care.
As always, if you have further questions about what the best course of action is for a loved one’s dementia treatment, it’s important that you get in touch with a physician. In-home care and other types of senior care can help offset some of the burden placed on you and your family when it comes to memory care, but it isn’t the only aspect of their health that needs to be addressed. Be sure to find out what types of medical help are available, and be sure to stick with whatever plan a trained and trusted doctor prescribes for your loved one. This, coupled with high quality senior care, can make a world of difference for your family.