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Antipsychotic Medications Linked to Brain Injuries in Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease

New findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reveal that use of antipsychotic medications was associated with an increased risk of head injuries in a study of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:01 am EST
"Persons with Alzheimer's disease have a higher risk of falling, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries and worse prognosis after these events in comparison to those without Alzheimer's disease.Therefore, it is important to avoid further increasing risk with antipsychotics in this vulnerable population, if possible"

Use of antipsychotic medications was associated with an increased risk of head injuries in a study of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The nationwide study of individuals in Finland who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease from 2005 to 2011 included 21,795 patients who started taking antipsychotic medications and 21,795 patients who did not. Use of antipsychotic medications was linked with a 29% higher risk of head injuries—the “event rate” was 1.65 vs. 1.26 per 100 person-years in users vs. non-users. (This means there would be an average of 1.65 vs. 1.26 injuries among 100 people over one year. This translates to 165 vs. 126 injuries per 10,000 people.) Also, use of antipsychotic medications was linked with a 22% higher risk of traumatic brain injuries—0.90 vs. 0.72 per 100 person-years.

When comparing antipsychotic medications, quetiapine users had 60% higher risk of traumatic brain injuries compared with risperidone users. 

“Persons with Alzheimer's disease have a higher risk of falling, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries and worse prognosis after these events in comparison to those without Alzheimer's disease.Therefore, it is important to avoid further increasing risk with antipsychotics in this vulnerable population, if possible,” said lead author Vesa Tapiainen, MD, of the University of Eastern Finland.

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.16275

About Journal 

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age. Since the publication of our first edition in 1953, JAGS has remained one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated exclusively to gerontology and geriatrics.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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Penny Smith +44 (0) 1243 770448 (UK)
newsroom@wiley.com

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