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Neurocognitive Costs And Benefits Of Psychotropic Medications In Older Adults

J. Brooks, J. Hoblyn
Published 2007 · Psychology, Medicine

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Psychotropic medications are widely used in older adults and may cause neurocognitive deficits. Older adults are at increased risk of developing adverse effects because of age-related pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic changes. This article provides a comprehensive review of the undesirable, and at times beneficial, effects of psychotropic medications. The review covers a wide range of medications that impair executive function, memory, and attention, as well as a much smaller group of medications that lead to improved neurocognitive function. Some of the most commonly used psychotropic medications in older adults, namely, antidepressants, sedatives, and hypnotics, are among the drugs that most consistently lead to cognitive impairments. Medications with anticholinergic properties almost invariably lead to neurocognitive dysfunction, despite symptom improvement. The neurocognitive costs and benefits of psychiatric medications should be considered in the context of disease treatment in older adults. (J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol 2007;20:199—214)
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