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Mortality in people with dementia taking antipsychotics higher than in those taking other psychiatric medications

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Dr Helen C Kales

Correspondence to: Dr Helen C Kales, MD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Box 5765, 4250 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA;



Is there a difference in mortality rate in the year after starting a new antipsychotic for neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia and other psychiatric drugs?


10 615 older adults (over 65 years old) diagnosed with dementia in fiscal years 2002 or 2003 who started outpatient psychiatric medication within 6 months of being diagnosed with dementia. Exclusions: using psychiatric medication in 6 months prior to dementia diagnosis; receiving lithium; having a seizure disorder.


National Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data registries, USA; fiscal years 2001–5.

Prognostic factors:

Type of psychiatric medication: antipsychotic (conventional, atypical, or both) or other. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders, including: age, gender, use of cholinesterase inhibitors, delirium diagnosis present at time of first prescription filling, date of starting psychiatric medication, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder diagnosis, days of hospitalisation in the …

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  • Competing interests: JW has received remuneration from Lilly and Janssen (makers of olanzapine and risperidone respectively) for educational activities..

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