Antipsychotics & Dementia

Antipsychotics & Dementia

A short film to help doctors decrease the over-prescription of antipsychotic medication in people with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia has been released by Alzheimer’s Australia.

The film titled Antipsychotics & Dementia: Managing Medications, has been developed in response to recent research which has found that antipsychotic medication, which can have serious side-effects, is used too frequently to manage behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

An Alzheimer’s Australia report, released in March this year, found that about half of people in aged care facilities and up to 80 per cent of those with dementia are receiving psychotropic medications. However, it also found that international data suggests that only 20 per cent of people with dementia who are receiving antipsychotic medication get any clinical benefits from it.

The report, The Use of Restraints and Psychotropic Medications in People with Dementia, also found that these medications can have a range of serious side-effects, including increased risk of stroke, increased risk of mortality, a greater chance of falls, and increased confusion.

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins said the resource was a positive step in supporting GPs, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals working with people with dementia in care homes and in the community in how best to deal with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.