A recent study published in the July issue of the Journal of Archives of Neurology reported that antipsychotic drugs are being prescribed to treat more than half of U.S. patients with Parkinson’s and dementia, despite FDA warnings over concerns these drugs can worsen the symptoms of the disease.

Most patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease eventually develop some form of psychosis, and the disease is also often associated with dementia. In 2005, the FDA required all product labels for antipsychotic medications to carry the agency’s highest “black box” warning about the risks these drugs pose to Parkinson’s patients.

In this latest study, researchers assessed data collected from the Department of Veterans Affairs between the years 2002 and 2008. The results of which revealed that the overall rate of antipsychotic prescriptions for Parkinson’s patients remained unchanged, despite years of increased warnings about the safety of the medications.

The researchers stressed the importance of future studies in order to better understand the specific effects of antipsychotic drug use in Parkinson’s patients, as well as to better examine the effects these drug treatments have on illness, death and overall disease progression in Parkinson’s patients.

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