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Anti-psychotic drug use linked to Alzheimer's deterioration

Long-term use of anti-psychotic drugs may cause significant deterioration in people with Alzheimer's disease, and offers no long-term benefits, research shows.

Up to 60% of people with Alzheimer's disease in nursing homes are prescribed anti-psychotics to treat behavioural symptoms such as aggression.

Patient's verbal fluency and cognitive ability started to deteriorate six months after treatment was started.

Clive Ballard from King's College London said: "It is very clear that even over a six month period of treatment, there is no benefit from nueropleptics in treating the behaviour in people with Alzheimer's disease when the symptoms are mild.

"The considerable risks of maintenance therapy highlight the urgency of further work to find, develop and implement safer and more effective treatment approaches for neuropsychiatric symptoms in people with Alzheimer's disease."

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "These results are deeply troubling and highlight the urgent need to develop better treatments.

"700,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK, a figure that will double in the next 30 years.

"The government needs to make Alzheimer's research funding a priority."

Alzheimer's Research Trust

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"Yes. Anti-psychotics use should be limited." - Marina Campos, California