Study: Antipsychotics don't manage aggressive outbursts

In a finding that would potentially mount a challenge to, among other treatments, the widespread practice of sedating agitated nursing home patients with antipsychotics, a new study suggests that these drugs may be no more effective than placebos in managing aggressive outbursts. The study, which didn't address Alzheimer's patients directly, focused on 86 adults with low I.Q.'s in community housing in England, Wales and Australia. It found that that adults taking the placebo actually saw a 79 percent reduction in aggressive behavior, while the reduction was 65 percent or less among those taking antipsychotics. Those taking the medications received Janssen's Risperdal or traditional antipsychotic Haldol.

Researchers speculated that it was attention from caregivers in the study, not the drugs themselves, that may be responsible for changed behaviors. They're recommending that physicians stop prescribing the use of such drugs for aggression.

To find out more about the study:
- read this New York Times piece

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Trend: Nursing homes big users of antipsychotic meds. Report