Antipsychotic drugs may harm Alzheimer’s patients

UK research has revealed the long term use of neuroleptic drugs may have severe side effects and no benefits.

A recent study, funded by the UK Alzheimer’s Research Trust, found that long-term use of drugs such as Risperidone can have severe side effects, possibly even fatal. The neuroleptic drugs are administered to Alzheimer’s sufferers to help manage behaviour.

The study, published in the open access journal Public Library of Science, found that patients suffered from deterioration in their cognitive and verbal skills and that most patients derived no long term benefit from taking neuroleptic drugs at all.

Rebecca Woods, chief executive of the UK Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said the study highlighted the need for higher performing drugs for patients. “These results are deeply troubling and highlight the urgent need to develop better treatments. The government needs to make Alzheimer’s research funding a priority,” she said.

The study is of particular importance because it was funded by a charity, unlike the vast majority of drug trials which are funded by  pharmaceutical manufacturers.

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