Effects Of Antipsychotic Medications In The Older Hospitalized Adults

Delirium is an abrupt and disturbing change of mind that causes emotional agitation and confusion in individuals. Typically, antipsychotic medicines are used to control delirium symptoms and to protect patients from further complications. A new study suggests the antipsychotic medicines work best on older patients admitted to the hospital and save them from delirium symptoms.

This study further explains that controlling delirium is one of the biggest challenges in healthcare units. As already mentioned, a sudden change in thinking may agitate the patient and hinder the medical procedures among older patients hospitalized for a long time.

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Delirium not only affects the patients but can also impact the healthcare providers. Usually, the physical restraints or behavioral therapy, doesn’t work as good as antipsychotic medicines to treat delirium patients as well as the healthcare providers. The researchers particularly studied the detailed effects of antipsychotic medicines in older patients who were hospitalized at the Boston Medical Center.

This study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and it is available online.

The study also out-looked at the non-fatal heart attack and death and they came to know that typical or first-generation antipsychotic medicines cause cardiopulmonary arrest and even death in the adults who take these medicines as compared to those adults who didn’t take antipsychotic medicines.

While atypical or second-generation antipsychotic medicines cause a cardiopulmonary arrest or even death in older people who are above 65 years.

Typical antipsychotic medicines were first formulated in the 1950s while atypical antipsychotic drugs were developed later. Previous research studies suggest that typical antipsychotic medicines could cause only sudden death while atypical antipsychotic medicines could cause pneumonia and even death but some studies showed that both types of antipsychotic medicines are involved in increasing the risk for heart attacks.

One of the recent studies by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston shows that nine percent of hospitalized adults can be given antipsychotic medications against non-psychiatric causes. While some other studies show that antipsychotic medicines are not useful because when these medicines were used to treat the delirium, no significant results were found.

Even the chances of death in patients weren’t lower, the duration of delirium wasn’t shortened, the severity of delirium symptoms wasn’t lessened and not even the time duration of the hospitalized patients was shortened. Even the length of the stay wasn’t shortened for the people who were in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The authors find that delirium is not easy to treat and is found commonly in older hospitalized patients. Delirium symptoms may live for short term or long term. Short term effects of delirium vary from patient to patient while long term effects of delirium can affect the cognitive ability and the long term admissions of the patients in hospitals are due to these long term effects.



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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