Parker Waichman LLP

Some Antipsychotics Raise Death Risk In Elderly

A large study reveals that some antipsychotic drugs raise the risk of death in the elderly. As we’ve written, such drugs are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; however, they’re often used off-label to treat seniors with dementia. The drugs carry a black box warning that elderly people treated in this way suffer increased […]

A large study reveals that some antipsychotic drugs raise the risk of death in the elderly. As we’ve written, such drugs are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; however, they’re often used off-label to treat seniors with dementia. The drugs carry a black box warning that elderly people treated in this way suffer increased risks of death.

A study involving 75,445 patients found that nursing home residents over the age of 65 who take certain antipsychotics are at increased risk for death, said the PharmaTimes. The study, which appears on bmj.com, was conducted by the Harvard Medical School and is the largest of its kind involving U.S. nursing home residents. The research analyzed mortality risks in seniors during a six month period, said PharmaTimes, and assessed mortality risks linked to antipsychotics including Bristol-Myers Squibb/Otsuka’s Abilify (aripiprazole), AstraZeneca’s Seroquel (quetiapine), Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa (olanzapine), Pfizer’s Geodon (ziprasidone), and Johnson & Johnson’s Haldol (haloperidol) and Risperdal (risperidone). Some 6,598 patients died in the six-month period from non-cancer related causes.

The research revealed that patients treated with haloperidol experienced double the risk for death versus patients taking risperidone. Those prescribed quetiapine experienced reduced death risks and the effect of haloperidol was strongest in the initial 40 days of treatment; this remained unchanged a dose adjustment, said PharmaTimes. Nearly half of the deaths—49%—related to circulatory disorders, 10% to brain disorders, and 15% to respiratory disorders.

Although not all antipsychotics carry the same risk for death in the elderly, “clinicians may want to consider this evidence when evaluating … the best approach to treatment of behavioral problems,” the team said, according PharmaTimes.

As we’ve mentioned, in 2003, the FDA required the makers of atypical antipsychotics to re-label them to include warnings regarding their risk of hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus. In 2005, the FDA also warned that such drugs increased the risk of death among elderly people. PharmaTimes noted that the FDA broadened its warning in 2008 to include conventional antipsychotics.

BMJ pointed out that it remains unclear if the risks differ by drug. The authors concluded that use of these drugs will probably continue, regardless of known issues, due to the “continued growth of the dementia population” and the growing need for intervention, said PharmaTimes.

An accompanying editorial, written by Jenny McCleery from the Oxford NHS Foundation Trust, explained that “the use of any antipsychotic in dementia is undesirable given the increased risk of death and the many other adverse effects of these drugs, in addition to their limited efficacy against target behavioral and psychological symptoms … future research should be pragmatic. It should focus on identifying the key components of non-drug based interventions and on establishing the service structures that can deliver them as simply and efficiently as possible,” said PharmaTimes.

What Our Clients Say About Us
We have worked with thousands of clients and we appreciate them and their positive reviews. Here are just a few recent client reviews...
5 Star Reviews 150
Positive: Professionalism , Quality , Responsiveness I am so thankful for Parker Waichman’s team. Tina morace was so professional and knowledgeable.
Carol Willis
2 years ago
5 Star Reviews 150
Nicholas W. is the best! I could not give higher praises. He took a bad situation and made it better. Thank you.
Erma Conner
7 years ago
5 Star Reviews 150
I am very grateful for Parker Waichman's work and thank you July and Marián for helping me in this process
Johan Aragones
2 months ago

Why Choose Us to Help You?

We Take Care of Everything
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
No Recovery = No Legal Fees
We work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that we only get paid from a portion of your settlement or jury award. If you don't get compensation, you owe us nothing.
Decades of Experience
Your situation is stressful enough: Let us take on the deadlines, paperwork, investigation, and litigation. We'll handle every detail so you don't have to worry.
Respected by Our Peers
Judges, insurance adjusters, and fellow attorneys all speak highly of our skills, and we've earned numerous accolades, including a flawless rating from AVVO.
We Have Many Locations To Serve You
We have the experience and the skilled litigators to win your case. Contact us and speak with a real attorney who can help you.
Long Island – Nassau
Parker Waichman LLP
6 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
Long Island – Suffolk
Parker Waichman LLP
201 Old Country Road – Suite 145
Melville, NY 11747
New York
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Queens
Parker Waichman LLP
118-35 Queens Boulevard, Suite 400
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Brooklyn
Parker Waichman LLP
300 Cadman Plaza West
One Pierrepont Plaza, 12th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
New Jersey
Parker Waichman LLP
80 Main Street, Suite 265
West Orange, NJ 07052
Florida
Parker Waichman LLP
27299 Riverview Center Boulevard
Suite 108
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Nationwide Service
Parker Waichman LLP
59 Maiden Lane, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10038