A large, UK-based study published in the BMJ has suggested that antipsychotic drugs carry greater risks of serious health conditions than previously thought, Report informs referring to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

These drugs are sometimes prescribed to manage severe dementia symptoms, including agitation, hallucinations, and delusions. However, previous evidence of harms has led to efforts to restrict their use.

Despite these warnings, their use increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new research is a collaboration between the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh, and Dundee. Researchers examined health records of over 150,000 people in England over 50 years old with a dementia diagnosis.

The harms previously associated with antipsychotics include an increased risk of conditions such as pneumonia and stroke when given to people with dementia. But there has been less evidence around other conditions, such as heart failure and kidney injury.

The study found that over a ten-year period, people with dementia who had been newly prescribed an antipsychotic drug were more likely to have stroke, blood clots, heart attack, heart failure, fracture, pneumonia, and kidney injury compared to people who were never prescribed antipsychotics.