Drugs often used to treat elderly patients with dementia-related aggression and delusions can raise their risk of death, according to a study that reinforces new warning labels required on the medications. The researchers pooled results of 15 previous studies on drugs known as atypical anti-psychotics and sold under the brand names Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel and Abilify.
Among more than 5,000 elderly dementia patients, those taking any of the drugs faced a 54 percent increased risk of dying within 12 weeks of starting the medication, compared with patients taking dummy pills. There were 118 deaths among the 3,353 drug users versus 40 in the 1,757-patient placebo group, or 3.5 percent compared with 2.3 percent. The risks were similar for each of the drugs.
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