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Drug used to control dementia symptoms carries risk of kidney injury: Study

A new study says that a class of drugs sometimes used to control symptoms of dementia appears to increase the risk of acute kidney injury in people who take it.

The study looks at what are called atypical anti-psychotic drugs, which are not recommended for dementia but which nonetheless are often prescribed for people suffering from it.

Researchers from Lawson Health Sciences Centre in London, Ont., and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto looked for signs of kidney problems in people taking the drugs for dementia.

They compared nearly 100,000 people newly prescribed one of these drugs to a similar number of people with dementia who were not given the medication.

The rate of acute kidney injury was essentially doubled in the group taking the drugs.

When the researchers looked at how many people died in the first three months of taking the drug, they found 6,666 people taking the drugs died compared to 2,985 in the control group.

Quetiapine, risperidone or olanzapine are members of this class of atypical anti-psychotic drugs.

Senior author Dr. Amit Garg, a kidney specialist, says it is important to note these findings only pertain to people taking the drug for dementia. The researchers did not study its use in people who are prescribed these drugs for mental health conditions.

The study is published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.