The use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in the elderly has become wider and wider in recent years; in fact, these agents have novel receptor binding profiles, good efficacy with regard to negative symptoms, and reduced extrapyramidal symptoms. However, in recent years, the use of both conventional and atypical antipsychotics has been widely debated for concerns about their safety in elderly patients affected with dementia and the possible risks for stroke and sudden death. A MEDLINE search was made using the words elderly, atypical antipsychotics, use, schizophrenia, psychosis, mood disorders, dementia, behavioral disorders, and adverse events. Some personal studies were also considered. This paper reports the receptor binding profiles and the main mechanism of action of these drugs, together with their main use in psychiatry and the possible adverse events in elderly people.
Keywords: atypical antipsychotics; dementia; elderly; mood disorders; psychosis; side effects.