Dementia drugs increase death risks in elderly patients

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Atypical anti-psychotic drugs used to treat elderly patients with dementia can also raise their risk of death, according to a new study appearing in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study's researchers pooled results of 15 previous studies on atypical anti-psychotics including Eli Lilly's Zyprexa (olanzapine), Janssen's Risperdal (risperidone), AstraZeneca's Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) and Bristol Myers Squibb's Abilify (aripiprazole).
Among the study's more than 5,000 elderly dementia patients, those taking any of the drugs faced a 54 percent increase in risk of death within 12 weeks of starting the medication, compared with patients taking a placebo.
Meanwhile, the FDA is reported to be considering a regulation to require drug makers to perform longer-term studies of psychiatric medication, including anti-psychotics and antidepressants, before they can be approved for marketing in the U.S.
In a meeting scheduled for Oct. 25, the FDA will ask an advisory committee about its move toward longer-term studies of antidepressants, antipsychotics and other drugs for long-term psychiatric conditions, including how such trials should be designed.
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