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Antipsychotic Drugs Cause Pneumonia in Elderly Nursing Home Patients

Filed April 24th, 2008 amy

Elderly folks in nursing homes are often prescribed potentially , even when they don’t need it. Now, a new study shows that nursing home patients who take antipsychotic drugs are 60 percent more likely to develop pneumonia in the short term than those who don’t take the drugs. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, says the pneumonia risk is greatest during the first week after patients start taking the medications and gradually decreases.

According to the study authors, up to 40 percent of nursing home residents may be prescribed antipsychotics, according to the study authors. They noted that, in more than half of those cases, antipsychotics are prescribed for inappropriate reasons. The drugs are often used to treat behavioral problems in dementia patients, but evidence shows these drugs have limited effectiveness in these patients. This is the first study to show an association between pneumonia risk and the use of antipsychotic drugs, which are frequently used to treat psychosis and behavioral problems in elderly patients with dementia and delirium.

HealthDay News also reports that recent research has shown that the use of antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients is associated with an increased risk of illness and death.

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