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Study queries use of dementia drugs

Many elderly dementia patients in Scotland are being prescribed anti-psychotic drugs which can cause "significant harm" a study has claimed.

More than one in six patients are being given the drugs, which are "known to be of limited benefit" according to scientists at Dundee University.

The research was conducted by Bruce Guthrie, Professor of Primary Care Medicine at Dundee, in response to concerns over the use of anti-psychotic and psychotropic drugs to manage dementia-related behavioural and psychological disturbances.

Dr Stella Clark from NHS Fife was also on board for the study, which was published in the journal Age and Ageing.

The research analysed data from 315 GP practices across the country - containing the records of more than 270,000 elderly patients.

A total of 10,000 of the elderly patients had been diagnosed as suffering from dementia and 1,785 of them had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

Patients with dementia were shown to be twice as likely to be prescribed anti-depressants or other sedatives, and were more than 17 times more likely to be prescribed anti-psychotics.

The study also suggested people with dementia are commonly being prescribed other sedative drugs, including anti-depressants and drugs such as diazepam.

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