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Pain meds instead of antipsychotics aid dementia patients

September 7, 2011
by root
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A new study shows that simple pain relievers may be a better option for dementia patients being treated with antipsychotic medications.

Agitation is a common symptom of dementia and antipsychotics are normally prescribed, but these medications have negative side effects, including an increased risk of stroke. And, because they have dementia, patients may not be able to communicate that they are in pain. The researchers maintain that pain medications can calm those who suffer from both dementia and pain.

Nearly one in five nursing home residents in the study, published in the British Medical Journal, became less agitated and aggressive after treatment with painkillers. The study concluded that effective management of pain for dementia sufferers can play an important role in the treatment of agitation and could reduce the number of unnecessary prescriptions for psychotropic drugs.