Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Antidepressants Trip Up Nursing Home Residents

Many nursing home residents with dementia suffer from depression and so are prescribed antidepressants, frequently selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Now a new study from the Netherlands finds that use of SSRIs among a group of 248 nursing home residents (average age 82) was associated with an increased risk of falls compared with those not taking these drugs.

“Even at low dosages, psychotropic drugs are associated with increased fall risk,” wrote Carolyn Shanty Sterke, M.D., of the Section of Geriatric Medicine at Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, and colleagues, in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (online January 19).

In the two-year study, the absolute daily risk of an injury-producing fall tripled from 0.09 percent per day to 0.28 percent among SSRI users. “Physicians should be cautious in prescribing SSRIs to older people with dementia, even at low doses,” said Sterke.

For more about psychotropic medications and people with dementia in  Psychiatric News, click here.

(Image: Lisa S./


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