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Trazadone linked to more falls, major fractures in dementia patients

By
Tauren Dyson
Patients dispensed trazadone had a rate of falls and major fractures, including hip fractures, similar to that of those receiving atypical antipsychotics. Photo by BillionPhotos.com/Shutterstock
Patients dispensed trazadone had a rate of falls and major fractures, including hip fractures, similar to that of those receiving atypical antipsychotics. Photo by BillionPhotos.com/Shutterstock

Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A drug used to fight antipsychotic behavior in dementia patients has the same dangerous side effects, according to a new study.

New research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that patients who use Trazadone, an alternative to antipsychotic drugs, have a risk of falling and causing major fractures, specifically in dementia patients.

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"As clinicians move to decrease antipsychotic use, we should not consider trazadone as a uniformly safer alternative to atypical antipsychotics, because trazadone use was associated with a comparable risk of falls and major osteoporotic fractures to atypical antipsychotics -- drugs associated with these adverse outcomes in our patient population," researchers wrote in the study.

Trazadone has been considered a safe alternative to atypical antipsychotics, which are known to cause falls and injuries among people with dementia.

In the new study, researchers said they found that between 6,600 Canadians seniors who took trazadone and more than 2,800 who took atypical antipsychotic drugs both had similar rates of falls and major fractures.

But they reported that deaths were lower for people who took trazadone.

People commonly use trazodone to treat insomnia, but the drug can reportedly cause drowsiness a day after taking it. About 50 million people worldwide live with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

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"We hope this information can be used to inform conversations that patients and caregivers are having with clinicians about the benefits and risks of different treatment options," the researchers wrote.

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