Risky antipsychotics for elderly people with dementia

This is apparent from research by the journalistic platform pointer from KRO-NCRV.

It concerns the antipsychotic seroquel (quetiapine), a drug to calm people with schizophrenia and psychoses. The package insert states that seroquel is not recommended for elderly patients suffering from dementia. The drug can increase their risk of stroke or, in some cases, the risk of death. It also makes the patient drowsy, increasing the risk of falling. worrisome red flags so, but experts speak of a ‘devil’s dilemma’.

Restlessness, fear, aggression: dementia can cause serious behavioral problems. “You can partly overcome this by giving a lot of personal attention, but that is not possible 24 hours a day,” explains professor of pharmacotherapy Rob van Marum. “Out of desperation, medication is prescribed in nursing homes, which can cause dangerous side effects. And we know about these substances from all kinds of studies: it usually doesn’t work, but sometimes it does.”

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Nurse specialist Inge Rinzema only prescribes seroquel if nothing else really works, she says. “When a lot has already been tried, but someone still remains restless. You then weigh the disadvantages against the advantages; to ensure that someone and his environment do not suffer from that unrest.” If that drug is prescribed, this should actually be done in close consultation with a psychiatrist and the family. “It is very important that they are aware of all the pros and cons. Ultimately, the family has to agree.”

With only more elderly people with dementia in the near future, the provision of such antipsychotics in nursing homes is not expected to decrease. That is why good communication about it remains very important, says professor van Marum. “You have to honestly inform those involved about the pros and cons of psychotropic drugs. That doesn’t always happen. After a few weeks you and the family should evaluate the effect of the medication. Then you may have to reduce it, because it does not give the result you had in mind.”

Good communication and openness towards you about the care your partner, father, mother or other loved one receives is therefore very important. Especially when it comes to prescribing seroquel.

Source | Pointer (KRO-NCRV)
Image | Getty

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