A GP guide to deprescribing antipsychotics

How to safely withdraw antipsychotics prescribed for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia

Need to know:

  • Prescription of risperidone now requires authority for 12 weeks of initial therapy for behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in patients with Alzheimer’s disease characterised by psychotic symptoms and aggression who have failed to respond to non-pharmacological measures.
  • Antipsychotics, such as risperidone, are modestly effective in the management of psychotic symptoms and aggression in people living with dementia but are associated with significant risk of adverse effects.
  • Antipsychotics can be safely withdrawn in people living with dementia.
  • Informed consent is legally required when considering prescribing psychotropic medications and should also be obtained, professionally, for deprescribing.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety Interim Report, released on 31 October 2019, identified a need to respond to the significant overreliance on

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