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Alzheimer's Drugs Ineffective and Dangerous


Three antipsychotic drugs commonly used to soothe agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer's disease have been found to be no more effective than placebos. On top of that, they put patients at risk of serious side effects, including confusion, sleepiness and Parkinson's disease-like symptoms.

Other studies have also found Alzheimer's drugs to be ineffective, but in this case, the drugs studied were:

  • Zyprexa from Eli Lilly
  • Seroquel from AstraZeneca
  • Risperdal from Janssen Pharmaceutical

The medications are not approved to treat Alzheimer's, but doctors commonly prescribe them "off label" because company-sponsored doctors promote them for the disease. The use of such drugs among the elderly bring in about $2 billion in annual sales (much of it paid by Medicare and Medicaid).

Of course, there is no "magic pill" to treat Alzheimer's, but there are some natural and safe therapies, like pets and music therapy, that have been proven effective, as well as a number of methods to help prevent it.

The New England Journal of Medicine October 12, 2006

New York Times October 12, 2006

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