Antipsychotics are increasingly being prescribed to older patients for the management of a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions. Available evidence supports the use of second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) when treating these conditions. However, given their modest clinical effect for certain conditions (e.g., behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia), their adverse effects, and their safety profile, a careful analysis of their risks and benefits is needed before initiating treatment with an SGA for an older patient. Among SGAs, choice of medication should be guided by their respective clinical indications and adverse effect profile, with use of lower initial and target doses (compared to younger adults) and periodic reviews of whether or not their continued use is warranted.
Key words: antipsychotics, older adults, dementia, delirium, schizophrenia.