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Antipsychotics use among older adults increases with age

(National Institute of Mental Health) Despite known risks of serious side effects, especially in older adults, the fraction of seniors treated with antipsychotic medications increases with age, researchers have found. Such medications may be appropriate for treating certain mental disorders, yet more than three-quarters of seniors receiving an antipsychotic prescription in 2010 had no documented clinical psychiatric diagnosis during the year. Further, among those who did have a diagnosed mental disorder and/or dementia, nearly half of the oldest patients had dementia, regardless of FDA warnings that antipsychotics increase mortality in people with dementia.
Known side effects of antipsychotic medications include metabolic problems and weight gain. For older adults receiving antipsychotics, the risks of dangerous side effects such as strokes, fractures, kidney injury, and mortality are increased. Despite concerns, researchers found that the percentage of people receiving an antipsychotic prescription in 2010 increased with age after age 65. The percentage with an antipsychotic prescription was approximately twice as high among people 80 to 84 as among those age 65 to 69.
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