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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 16-29

Adverse drug reactions due to antipsychotics and sedative-hypnotics in the elderly

Department of Psychiatry, KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Natasha S Kate
Department of Psychiatry, KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.161377

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Psychotropic drugs are commonly used to manage mental and behavioral problems in geriatric patients. This is, however, accompanied by the risk of developing adverse drug reactions (ADRs), impacting the safety with which the drug can be used. In this article, we provide an overview of the factors associated with the ADRs due to psychotropic medication in the elderly, and the ADRs associated with the use of antipsychotics and sedative-hypnotics in the geriatric population. For this, literature searches were conducted through MEDLINE, PubMed, and Google Scholar using keyword terms: Geriatric, elderly, safety, adverse events, ADRs, antipsychotic, names of individual antipsychotics, benzodiazepine, sedative, hypnotic, zolpidem, zaleplon, zopiclone. Research data indicate that antipsychotics are associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, thromboembolism, cerebrovascular and cardiac events, pneumonia, fractures, and increased mortality. Among antipsychotics, aripiprazole seems to have fewer ADRs while other antipsychotics (typical and atypicals) have reports of troublesome side effect profiles. Sedative-hypnotics are associated with a risk of falls, fractures, cognitive impairment, and may increase the risk of developing dementia with long-term use. The risk of these complications is present with both benzodiazepines and medications such as zolpidem and zopiclone.

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