Depakote as Deadly as Antipsychotics

A new study has found that – no surprise at all – antipsychotics are associated with a much higher death rate for people with dementia.  After looking at death rates for people with dementia who were given an antipsychotic compared to a matched cohort of people with dementia who were not given antipsychotics, the authors found significant mortality risks.

  • For Zyprexa, the risk of death for people with dementia within 180 days was 46% higher;
  • For Seroquel, the risk of death was 31% higher;
  • For Risperdal, the risk of death was 68% higher;
  • For Haldol, the risk of death was a whopping 150% higher.

For people who have only loosely followed the issue of antipsychotics as a “treatment” for dementia, the increased mortality associated with these drugs is well-known.  However, the new study also looked at Depakote, an anti-seizure drug that is often misused as a chemical restraint for people with dementia.  Depakote misuse has largely been ignored by the national and statewide movements to end chemical restraints in nursing homes.  The study found a very troubling 62% increase in mortality for people with dementia who are given Depakote for 180 days.


About achicotel

Anthony Chicotel is a staff attorney for CANHR. His areas of expertise include the rights of long-term care residents, nursing home litigation, health care decision-making, and conservatorships.
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