Antipsychotics Like Seroquel for Dementia Blamed for Deaths and Strokes

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits

According to a new report, side effects of antipsychotics, such as Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Abilify, could be responsible for as many as 1,800 deaths and 1,620 strokes each year among the elderly with dementia in the United Kingdom.

The report, which was commissioned by the British government, found that the use of antipsychotics for dementia has been largely ineffective, resulting in improvement in only 20% of patients. As a result of the findings, the U.K. Department of Health has initiated plans to reduce the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa, Risperdal, Abilify and Serquel for dementia in its own health system, and hopes that the reduction will be picked up by other nations as well.

There are an estimated 180,000 elderly people with dementia in the United Kingdom currently being treated with the antipsychotic drugs, according to the report’s author, Professor Sube Banerjee. However, only 36,000 were found to derive any benefit from the drugs.

“The findings of my review confirm that there are indeed significant issues in terms of quality of care and patient safety,” said Banerjee, professor of mental health at King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, in a letter to the Minister of State that accompanied the report. “These drugs appear to be used too often in dementia and, at their likely level of use, potential benefits are most probably outweighed by their risks overall.”

Banerjee recommends that the British government reduce the use of Zyprexa, Risperdal, Abilify and Seroquel in dementia patients by two-thirds, which he says can be done within 36 months. The British government has accepted Banerjee’s recommendations, and plans to create a new federal position for a National Clinical Director for Dementia to oversee the reduction of the use of antipsychotics and the proper treatment of dementia across the country.

In the United States, many of the antipsychotics prescribed to treat dementia, such as Seroquel, are not approved for that use by the FDA. This means that drug manufacturers are not supposed to market the drugs for dementia treatment, but doctors are not restricted from prescribing them. However, ongoing litigation against AstraZeneca over Seroquel produced internal documents that suggested that the company was promoting the antipsychotic drug for off-label uses, including dementia, illegally.

In 2005, the FDA required antipsychotics to carry a “black box” warning that the drugs were connected to an increased risk of premature death in elderly dementia patients. The warning is the most stringent labeling requirement possible under federal law.

In late October, the Chicago Tribune conducted an investigation and found that similar over prescription problems with antipsychotics occurred in the United States, particularly in nursing homes. An analysis of medical data from 275,000 residents with dementia found that they were more likely to suffer a nursing home fall or decline in health when prescribed antipsychotics or other psychotropic drugs. Two-thirds of all nursing homes in Illinois were cited at least once in the past eight years for violating drug use laws regarding such drugs, the investigation found.

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  1. Bill Reply

    Zyprexa Lilly cash cow in billion dollar litigation WARNING- If a drug (Zyprexa) lists anything about the pancreas among the side effects, it probably means it can cause diabetes.

    Unlike your liver, the pancreas does not regenerate itself. If it gets damaged, diabetes is very likely. Zyprexa is glorified Thorazine at ten times the price class action Eli Lilly Zyprexa lawsuit haven’t had their cases resolved yet.

    Lilly made us all sign gag orders so we can’t speak out now. Everybody seems to be getting paid-out except the real victims. Lilly pays $10 million to 8 of their own EMPLOYEE so called ‘whistle-blowers’.

  2. Maria Reply

    Your report confirms findings in studies that have been conducted here in the US as well. There have been all sorts of studies that have found that antipsychotic drugs have deleterious effects. In particular Risperdal has been shown to increase the risk of stroke and premature death in the elderly. A friend’s mother with dementia was put on Risperdal after entering a nursing home. She died from a stroke three months later. MDs in the US continue to prescribe antipsychotic drugs as well as other drugs in spite of black box warnings. Maria,

  3. MomMom Reply

    My 82 year old father was incorrectly diagnosed with Parkinson’s and due to the medication they gave him for a disease he did NOT have, he ended up in a nursing home as a dementia patient. He was healthy as a horse, just confused with all the unnecessary medication. My father was given Abilify while in the nursing being treated as a dementia patient and two days after he was given this drug, he had a massive stroke and died. I for one believe that this drug IS definately responsible for many untimely deaths of elderly dementia patients.

  4. Roscoe Reply

    My mother was commited to a 72 hour psych evaluation at a University hospital where she was given Seraquiol in April 2005. She had been taking medicine for her dementia since 2002. She continued to take it after release until January 2007 when she had a stroke.

  5. JOY Reply


  6. Peter Reply

    Google the words “Seroquel” and “Death”
    The first result listed will be “Death by Seroquel” written by me
    It is about military weapons testing on unwitting subjects with a weapon that appears to be MEDUSA developed by the Navy for crowd control. Be it this weapon or another, governments have the ability to make people hear voices using what is called the “microwave hearing effect”. If attacked a target goes to the hospital they can then be involuntarily committed. That is what happened to me.
    Again… that is right the MEDUSA weapon can make people hear voices like schizophrenia and only the targeted individual hears it by means of the microwave hearing effect.
    The target is then discredited and can be drugged and killed because everyone thinks they are ill. This is a means to replace the false arrest and imprisonment that police had tried to accomplish and failed, with this new covert means. Protesters and whistle blowers are now in danger of this kind of attack by our governments. The use of non-lethal weapons is just another way to torture, discredit and kill covertly.
    Many elderly have died and now soldiers coming home from war with PTSD are being killed by Seroquel with massive doses of 1600 mg per day. They are beginning to die in large numbers. Here is an article from the Huffington Post.

    I recently red an article where one doctor has made $5000,000.00 from pushing this drug. A question that needs to be asked is when these elderly and PTSD veterans die how much do the government save on retirement and disability payments?

    Below is a comment from a doctor to “Death by Seroquel”.

    I visited my psychiatrist for not being able to sleep. yes, I almost died twice due to Seroquel. I could not breath, lay down, my heart was palpitating like crazy and now a month after, I have seizure like convulsions almost every night and ticking of the body all day long. I am seeing a specialist, been in and out of hospital. This drug is dangerous, and yet to be revealed about its consequences. There are over 13000 deaths every year yet the manufacturers are pushing to advertise due to its 4.3 billion dollar profit every year. It’s a crazy world out there. By the way, I am a doctor.

  7. MB Reply

    My ex husband has bipolar disorder. He had a manic episode and could not sleep. The doctor gave him 6oo mg Seroquel. Three hours later he had a severe stroke. He is now in ICU with HIs stroke and severe delirium.

  8. Anita Reply

    My father walked into the ER a normal healthy person except for his
    confusion of names, dates and relationships due to his moderate stage
    of demantia. He had fallen and we wanted him checked out at the ER.
    He was in the hospital for 5 days. The doctor claiming that he was
    trying to stablize dad’s medications. After the five days and due to medicare not paying anymore to the hospital, the doctor conveniently
    moved him into the nursing facility that is connected to the hospital. We
    found out later that he had been put on the drug Abilify inspite of the
    warning that it is not to be given to dementia patients! Dad died within
    three weeks of entering that hospital and nursing home. He was like
    a total vegetable upon his death; he could not speak, drink or eat. It
    was a very cruel, agonizing death for him as well as we that were
    there with him. We never had a clue that he was on this drug or what
    the label warnings were for dementia patients. Why would any
    concious thinking doctor prescribe such a thing to anyone?????
    We feel he killed our father with that drug!!!!!!

  9. Lisa Reply

    My story is similar to Anita’s. My mother went into the nursing home for dementia. She was a healthy woman, walking around pleasantly confused. She was placed on Abilify by the psych doctor and about 3-4 weeks later started to have SOB, swelling in her legs and a blood sugar that was out of control. She was diagnosed with heart failure in the hospital. She had never had an issue with heart failure or fluid build up prior to being put on that medicine. My sister and I demanded she be taken off of it. Needless to say her heart weakened so bad from them trying to treat her in the nursing home for pneumonia, etc. and not realizing she had heart failure, my mother suffered and passed away due to heart failure. They killed my mother with that medication as well.

  10. Betty Reply

    Forced to take heavy-duty anti-psychotics including Clozaril. Has dementia and metabolic syndrome but no one seems to care. All information is withheld from family even though patient has signed official release forms!

  11. lynda Reply

    My mother was taken to the emergency room at Brockton Hospital December 18,2014 for pnemonia..She was admitted to the hospital so they could give her antibiotics intervenously, and I was told she could probably go home the next day. In the over night she became very restless, as she had dementia and kept trying to get out of bed. I was called the next morning 12/19/2014, to come to the hospital to see if I could calm her down and make her stay in bed. I sent my husband down, he sat with her while she had breakfast and stayed until I could leave work. She was restless and very agitated because they did not want her to get out of bed even to use the bathroom, so they put depends on her, which just made her even more agitated. After her lunch , she seemed to calm down a little, though still wanting to get up, she stayed in bed. I stayed with her to keep her company until dinner time, when i left , and was going to return later in the evening. The Doctor taking care of her prescribed Zyprexa, to calm her, so she wouldn’t disturb any one, and within thirty minutes they were calling a code blue on jher, and she went from just an ordinaryfloor to intensive care , where she died 24 hours later. I know that drug killed her, and to this day I can’t believe the negligence knowing that persons with dementia should not be given that drug, let alone the fact she was 89 and had pnemonia, as it says right on the packaging not for over 65 or dementia or any type of breathing distress. I feel they just don’t care about the elderly, just shut them up with the drugs. I’m sure my mother wasn’t the first, and I know she won’t be the last, unless people like myself start speaking up.

  12. Jospehina Reply

    My mother was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe dementia 10-12 years ago and later Primary Progressive Aphasia, has been a nursing home resident for a little less than 4 yrs. As we know there is no cure for this or any type of dementia, one of the original nursing home psychiatrists treated her behavioral symptoms with Depakote and Trazadone (off label use). These meds seemed to be somewhat effective but as the disease progressed my mother became non compliant with most of her meds. The original psychiatrist left the facility and when the new Dr. came on board he decided different meds were needed. He felt Risperdol might be effective but decided to only administer prn. It was my understanding the nursing staff was only able to administer 3 doses total before the new psychiatrist decided to change her meds to Zyprexa without my knowledge or consent. My mom began to experience increased tremors, somnolence, anxiety and an unsteady gait-she had 3 falls in 3 weeks (suffered a non displaced shoulder fx) The staff and physician denied the new symptoms could have been caused by the Zyprexa but continued to suggest it was the disease progression. In the meantime the nursing home began pressing for a geri-psych evaluation (inpatient) to tweak her meds and improve her mood. I completely disagreed with their assessment and vehemently expressed my distrust of the care plan, I was told by the psychiatrist that he would not treat my mom as a patient if I did not agree to the evaluation and in turn the nursing home threatened to initiate a discharge order it I did not comply. I contacted the state Ombudsmen, he did a site visit, reviewed my mom’s chart and noted that the nursing had charted numerous behaviors and they believed her to be so disruptive that it warranted the evaluation. He also noted the extreme use of Ativan for behavior control on many occasions for my mom. Upon admission to the geri-psych unit my mom was evaluated and new meds were administered: the Zyprexa was increased, Depakote and Clonidine were added. Morphine was given prn. Upon admission, it was also noted that she had a UTI, was dehydrated and had a mild bowel impaction. So Bactrim was also given for the UTI, no evidence of sepsis. Fast forward 5 days…my mom ambulates into the facility on her own, does have advanced Frontal Lobe Dementia and PPA, but is eating and drinking on her own. On day 6, I receive a report that she will not ambulate and is semi-responsive, no sign of a stoke or heart attack. Day 7, they suggest palliative care because my mom is now non responsive, getting IV hydration over next few days. Day 10, we’re told we need to consider Hospice as my mother is dying. She died 13 days later. My impression: “Black Box” drug use contributed to her death.

  13. PJ Reply

    would like to discuss the delirium w/ Seroquel…

  14. Steven Reply

    If the risk of death in elderly with even mild dementia that also have breathing problems,and chf Why give it to them ? Is it simply a staff chemical restraint? If anyone else gave this to someone and as in my fathers case it killed them they would be up for murder why arent doctors held likewise?

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