Antipsychotic Medications Can Cause Serious Side Effects In Elderly Dementia Patients


If you believe a beloved relative with Alzheimer's disease has experienced harmful side effects from an antipsychotic drug administered in a nursing home, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance. Some nursing home staff members resort to providing quetiapine, risperidone and other antipsychotic medications to patients who become agitated or even violent, but the drugs often cause damaging results even if the patient's behavior improves. 

Antipsychotics and Mortality in Dementia Patients

Many studies have confirmed that elderly patients with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia have higher death rates as a population when taking antipsychotic medication. One of the more recent studies reviewed some 45,000 patient records and found nearly a 4-percent increased mortality rate for those who were taking haloperidol or risperidone. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires a black box warning on labeling for these drugs to provide information on the serious risks. Nevertheless, some nursing homes continue to provide the medications to patients suffering from dementia. 

Increased Health Risks

The higher mortality rates are associated with side effects from the drugs. Some of these side effects are seen in other types of patients taking antipsychotic medications, while a few of the effects seem to only occur in older dementia patients. Researchers still haven't figured out why this happens.

Health conditions that are more likely to develop when anyone takes these medications include:

  • spikes in blood sugar that can be fatal
  • a potentially fatal reaction to the medication resulting in a very high fever and other symptoms, which is known as neuroleptic malignant syndrome
  • a permanent involuntary movement disorder known as tardive dyskenesia

Serious health problems associated with antipsychotics that primarily affect elderly dementia patients include:

  • congestive heart failure
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • infectious pneumonia

More Rapid Mental Deterioration

One of the more troubling effects associated with antipsychotic drugs in dementia patients is the tendency for those individuals to deteriorate more rapidly in regard to memory, learning ability and other mental faculties. Family members are justifiably distraught when they realize that their loved one may have retained better cognitive functioning for a longer time if it weren't for that medication. 

What You Can Do Now

Family members rely on nursing homes to provide skilled, compassionate care for their relatives. When staff members take shortcuts and issue medications that should not be provided to dementia patients, the family rightfully deserves financial compensation for the negative effects that result. Contact a personal injury lawyer {like those at Bennett & Sharp, PLLC} for a free consultation. 


14 January 2016

Learning How To Heal

After you have endured a traumatic, life-changing car accident, it can be hard to transition back into your everyday routine. As friends and family members chat about upcoming outlet mall sales or holiday plans, you might be secretly worried about how to pay your medical bills or forget about that wreck. Fortunately, dealing with your car accident case proactively by working with an attorney can really help. After I was involved in a car accident a few years back, my attorney stood by my side and helped me to argue for what was rightfully mine. I made this website to teach others what to do if they are involved in an accident.