Agitation, aggression, and psychosis are among the most troublesome behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and impair the lives of dementia patients and their caregivers. Atypical antipsychotics have been widely prescribed to improve these BPSD. However, in a number of trials with atypical antipsychotics, a consistent increase in overall mortality has been observed. The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning for all atypical antipsychotics as a result of a meta-analysis of 17 placebo-controlled clinical trials using various atypical antipsychotics for the treatment of BSPD. To evaluate this mortality risk specifically for risperidone, 6 phase-2/3 double-blind trials comparing risperidone with placebo were analyzed. Data were obtained from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. Hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to compare the relative mortality risk between patients treated with risperidone and those treated with placebo. In this meta-analysis, 1721 patients were included. In the pooled sample, the mortality was 4.0% with risperidone versus 3.1% with placebo (relative risk, 1.21; 95% confidence interval, 0.71-2.06) during treatment or within 30 days after treatment discontinuation. The most common adverse events associated with death were pneumonia, cardiac failure or arrest, or cerebrovascular disorder. No relationship was found between risperidone dose and mortality. In conclusion, this meta-analysis found a nonsignificant increase in mortality during treatment with risperidone in dementia patients. Larger studies would be needed to rule out a small increase in mortality in these patients. Careful assessments of potential benefits and risks should be made before prescribing risperidone for the treatment of BPSD.
"Flowchart. side effects and higher mortality, especially in patients with dementia  . Therefore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discourages clinicians from prescribing antipsychotics to delirious dementia patients and from using these medications prophylactically . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Representation of hospitalized patients with pre-existing cognitive impairment in pharmaceutical delirium trials is important because these patients are at high risk for developing delirium. The aim of this systematic review is to investigate whether patients with cognitive impairment were included in studies on pharmacological prophylaxis or treatment of delirium and to explore the motivations for their exclusion (if they were excluded).
This study was a systematic review. A MEDLINE search was performed for publications dated from 1 January 1985 to 15 November 2012. Randomized and non-randomized controlled trials that investigated medication to prevent or treat delirium were included. The number of patients with cognitive impairment was counted, and if they were excluded, motivations were noted.
The search yielded 4293 hits, ultimately resulting in 31 studies that met the inclusion criteria. Of these, five studies explicitly mentioned the percentage of patients with cognitive impairment that were included. These patients comprised a total of 8% (n=279 patients) of the 3476 patients included in all 31 studies. Ten studies might have included cognitively impaired patients but did not mention the exact percentage, and sixteen studies excluded all patients with cognitive impairment. The motivations for exclusion varied, but most were related to the influence of dementia on delirium.
The exclusion of patients with pre-existing cognitive impairment hampers the generalizability of the results of these trials and leaves clinicians with limited evidence about the pharmacological treatment of this group of vulnerable patients who have an increased risk of side effects.
Journal of psychosomatic research 03/2014; 76(3):193-199. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.12.007 · 2.74 Impact Factor
"Meta-analyses of risperidone compared to placebo showed a non-significant 20% to 30% increased relative risk of death with short-term treatment (<12 weeks) [5,19,20]. One additional RCT found a 42% increased relative risk of death with atypical antipsychotics with extended duration of treatment . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antipsychotics are frequently and increasingly prescribed to treat the behavioural symptoms associated with dementia despite their modest efficacy. Evidence regarding the potential adverse events of antipsychotics is limited and little is known about the longer-term safety of these medicines in the elderly. The aim of this review was to determine the impact of the choice of observational study design and methods used to control for confounding on the measurement of antipsychotic risks in elderly patients.
We searched PUBMED and the Cochrane controlled trials register for double-blind randomised controlled trials (RCTs), meta-analyses and published observational studies of antipsychotics.
Forty four studies were identified for the endpoints; death, cerebrovascular events, hip fracture and pneumonia. RCTs found a 20% to 30% increased risk of death, or an absolute increase of 1extra death per 100 patients with atypical antipsychotics compared to non-use. Cohort and instrumental variable analyses estimated between 2 to 7 extra deaths per 100 patients with conventional compared to atypical antipsychotics. RCTs found a 2 to 3 times increased risk of all cerebrovascular events with atypical antipsychotics compared to placebo and no association with serious stroke that required hospitalisation. Observational studies using cohort and self-controlled case-series designs reported similar results; no association where the endpoint was stroke causing hospitalisation and a doubling of risk when minor stroke was included. No RCTs were available for the outcome of hip fracture or pneumonia. Observational studies reported a 20% to 40% increased risk of hip fracture with both antipsychotic classes compared to non-use. The risk of pneumonia was a 2 to 3 times greater with both classes compared to non-use while a self-controlled case-series study estimated a 60% increased risk. Conventional antipsychotics were associated with a 50% greater hip fracture risk than atypical antipsychotics, while the risk of pneumonia was similar between the classes.
Choice of observational study design is critical in studying the adverse effects of antispychotics. Cohort and instrumental variable analyses gave more consistent results to clinical studies for mortality outcomes as have self-controlled case-series for the risk of cerebrovascular events and stroke. Observational evidence has highlighted the potential for antipsychotics to be associated with serious adverse events that were not reported in RCTs including hip fracture and pneumonia. Good quality observational studies are required, that employ appropriate study designs that are robust towards unmeasured confounding, to confirm the potential excess risk of hip fracture and pneumonia with antipsychotics.
BMC Medical Research Methodology 06/2012; 12(1):72. DOI:10.1186/1471-2288-12-72 · 2.27 Impact Factor
"Given the FDA warnings, atypical antipsychotics should only be considered in moderate to severe cases on a case-by-case basis after careful evaluation of the risk-benefit ratio. The preferred antipsychotic seems to be risperidone as it was the only agent found in a metaanalysis of six RCTs to non-significantly increase mortality (Haupt et al., 2006) while another meta-analysis of fifteen trails found it to significantly improve psychosis scores (Schneider et al., (2006). "
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