Antipsychotic Drugs Could Triple The Risk Of Stroke

Antipsychotic Medications Taken Over A Long Period Has Shown To Greatly Increase Stroke Risk

Antipsychotic Medications Taken Over A Long Period Has Shown To Greatly Increase Stroke Risk

Antipsychotic drugs kill around 1,800 patients in Britain every year with many more suffering serious side effects.

Some care homes often see the medication as an easier way to calm dementia sufferers who are in distress. Recently new research shows that they should only be prescribed in small doses.

Antipsychotic  drugs have a strong sedative effect and are designed to ease aggression and distress along with hallucinations or delusions which are caused by dementia. Many patients are prescribed these drugs for years, but guidelines state that they should only be used for three months at a time.

The study which was conducted by the National Taiwan University has shown that antipsychotic drugs have varied effects on the body. The study team went on to say that with a better understanding of how antipsychotic drugs increase stroke risk may develop better practices of drugs being prescribed for elderly patients.

The study, which is in the journal ‘Biological Psychiatry’, studied the range of brain mechanisms targeted by antipsychotic drugs.

All antipsychotic medications prevent the body from producing the chemical dopamine. The neurotransmitter is vital to various behaviors by the body and helps regulate the brain’s pleasure centers along with emotional responses. They also act on a range of other receptors, with some of the medications having more severe effects than others.

The research team found that antipsychotic drugs with a high binding affinity of alpha2 adrenergic and muscarinic m1 receptors were linked with greater stroke risk than the use of other types of antipsychotic drugs available.

What was also found was stroke risk was higher in elderly patients who had dementia. The duration and dosage of antipsychotics were also connected with stroke risk. Patients who received antipsychotic treatment for up to four weeks or who were prescribed high daily dosages, showed a greater risk of stroke.

These findings suggest that during the initial weeks of treatment, the risk was higher and it was the same for patients whose daily doses were higher. From this research they recommend that doctors begin antipsychotic medications at low dosages and monitor for side effects from the start of the treatment.