Antipsychotic drugs approved for use in treating mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and manic depression, are also used by doctors to treat patients with dementia, including Alzheimers disease. However, recently the newer antipsychotic drugs have been linked to an increased risk of death for older patients. But researchers caution against switching elderly patients to the older generation of antipsychotics, such as Haldol and Thorazine, because those drugs have more severe side effects and have an even higher risk of death than the newer drugs. Researchers are still trying to determine the best way to treat the aggressive behavior and dementia suffered by elderly patients. Though doctors are free to use antipsychotic drugs to treat various symptoms in elderly patients, those drugs are only approved for treating mental illness. Doctors and patients must be fully aware of the risks of using antipsychotics.
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