30 March 2007

Sedatives Killing Alzheimer's Patients

Many Alzheimer’s patients are dying earlier because of sedatives they are being prescribed. That is the conclusion of a five-year research project carried out by the Alzheimer's Research Trust

The sedatives, known as neuroleptics, were discovered to be associated with a significant deterioration in verbal fluency and cognitive function. They also have no benefit for patients with the mildest symptoms. The chart below shows the survival rates of patients on the sedatives compared with those taking a placebo drug after 24, 36 and 42 months. Worryingly, up to 45% of people in nursing homes with the disease are prescribed the drugs.
Results of drug trial, showing survival rates after 24, 36, and 42 monthsAlthough 700,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK, only £11 is spent on UK research into Alzheimer's for every person affected by the disease, compared to £289 for cancer patients.