This study investigated use of antipsychotic drug therapy for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) among 344 people with dementia living in 40 specialised care units in Sweden. 132 persons (38%) in the study population used antipsychotic drugs at the start of the study, of whom 52/132 (39%) had prescriptions meeting national guidelines. After 6 months, 111 of 132 persons were no longer present because of deaths and dropouts. 72% of patients were still treated with antipsychotics, 57% with the same dose. People showing aggressive behaviour, passivity or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were more likely to be prescribed antipsychotics.
The authors conclude that prevalence of antipsychotic drug use among people with dementia in specialised care units was high and that inappropriate long-term use of antipsychotic drugs was common; despite their limited efficacy and concerns about the safety of antipsychotic drugs.
Gustafsson, M. Karlsson, S. [and] Lövheim, H. (2013). Inappropriate long-term use of antipsychotic drugs is common among people with dementia living in specialized care units. BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology, February 8th 2013, Vol.14(1), pp.10. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
[A version of this item features in Dementia: the Latest Evidence, Volume 3 Issue 6, February 2013].