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NewsResearchers Warn: Common Antidepressant Should No Longer Be Used To Treat People...

Researchers Warn: Common Antidepressant Should No Longer Be Used To Treat People With Dementia

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Scientist Medicine Warning

A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study.

A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo, and might even increase mortality, according to a new study.

The research, led by the University of Plymouth and published in The Lancet, has shown that antidepressant mirtazapine offered no improvement in agitation for people with dementia – and was possibly more likely to be associated with mortality than no intervention at all.  (See Antidepressants and their deadly ‘side effects’ report)

Agitation is a common symptom of dementia, characterized by inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity, and often involves physical and verbal aggression. Non-drug patient-centered care is the first intervention that should be offered but, when this doesn’t work, clinicians may move to a drug-based alternative. Antipsychotics have proven to increase death rates in those with dementia, along with other poor outcomes, and so mirtazapine has been routinely prescribed. This study was designed to add to the evidence base around its effectiveness.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the study recruited 204 people with probable or possible

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