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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2011 Feb;26(1):10-28. doi: 10.1177/1533317510390351.

Risk of cerebrovascular adverse events and death in elderly patients with dementia when treated with antipsychotic medications: a literature review of evidence.

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  • 1BJC Healthcare System, Farmington, MO, USA.


Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) are increasingly recognized as a major risk factor for caregiver burden, institutionalization, greater impairment in activities of daily living (ADLs), more rapid cognitive decline, and a poorer quality of life. BPSD contribute significantly to the direct and indirect costs of caring for patients with dementia even after adjusting for the severity of cognitive impairment and other co-morbidities. Research on these symptoms has indicated a complex interplay between the biological, psychological and social factors involved in the disease process. Although some psychotropic medications have shown modest efficacy in the treatment of these behaviors, their use has generated controversy due to increasing recognition of the side effects of these medications especially the antipsychotic medications. In this review, we examine the risk of cerebrovascular adverse events (CVAEs) and death with antipsychotic medications when used to treat elderly patients with dementia.

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