* Most dementia patients given anti-psychotics needlessly
* Report could inform clinical practice around the world
* Global dementia cases seen doubling to 66 mln by 2030
By Kate Kelland
LONDON, Nov 12 More than 140,000 dementia
patients in Britain are given anti-psychotic drugs needlessly
and overprescribing of the medicines is linked to an extra 1,800
deaths in elderly people each year, a report said on Thursday.
The government-backed review showed that only around 36,000
of around 180,000 dementia patients prescribed anti-psychotics
got any benefit from them -- findings it said could affect
clinical practice in dementia across the world.
"Anti-psychotics are used too often in dementia," Sube
Banerjee, the report's author and a professor of mental health
and ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College
London, said in a statement.
He said use of anti-psychotics drugs for dementia should be
cut to a third of current levels in Britain and said his study
would "provide international leadership in this complex clinical
Alzheimer's Disease International predicted in September
that more than 35 million people around the world will suffer
from dementia in 2010. That number is expected to almost double
every 20 years, to 66 million in 2030 and more than 115 million
in 2050. [ID:nN20262573]
Anti-psychotic drugs include generic treatments like
thioridazine, chlorpromazine, haloperidol, trifluorperazine and
Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ.N) Risperdal, Eli Lilly and Co's
(LLY.N) Zyprexa, and Seroquel, made by AstraZeneca (AZN.L),
which are among the top-selling drugs worldwide.
Such medicines have increasingly been used to treat the
personality changes and aggression often associated with
dementia, an incurable brain disease that worsens over time and
whose most common form is Alzheimer's disease.
There is no cure for dementia and the costs of illness are
forecast to rise dramatically in the coming decades. Experts
cite a 2005 study from Sweden's Karolinska Institute that
estimated dementia cost global economies $315 billion a year,
$227 billion for rich countries and $88 billion for low- and
Neil Hunt, chief executive of Britain's Alzheimer's Society
said the report supported his view that anti-psychotics "should
only ever be used as a last resort".
"The scandalous over prescription of antipsychotic drugs
leads to an estimated 1,800 deaths a year," he said. "It must
British researchers published a study in January showing
that antipsychotic drugs prescribed to treat aggression in older
Alzheimer's patients appeared to significantly raise their risk
of dying prematurely. [ID:nL8238277]
(editing by David Cowell)