Community-Acquired Pneumonia In The Elderly: Every Tenth Patient Dies In Western Countries

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) represents a public health problem of substantial magnitude, and remains the leading cause of death due to infectious diseases, with an incidence ranging from 1.6 to 10.6 per 1,000 adults per year in Europe.

Owing to demographic changes, elderly patients now represent about 50% of CAP patients in western countries. 

Norman DeLisle, MDRC
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Antipsychotic Drugs Increase Risk Of Developing Pneumonia In Elderly - Nursing Home Patients At Particular Risk

Elderly patients who use antipsychotic drugs have a 60 percent increased risk of developing pneumonia compared to non-users. This risk is highest in the first week following prescription and decreases gradually thereafter. These findings are published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Antipsychotic drugs are frequently used in elderly patients for the treatment of psychosis and behavioral problems associated with dementia and delirium. This study is the first to show that the development of pneumonia is associated with antipsychotic drug use.

"The risk of developing pneumonia is not associated with long-term use, but is the highest shortly after starting the drug," say Drs. Rob van Marum and Wilma Knol, authors of the study. They caution that "all antipsychotic drugs may be associated with pneumonia in elderly patients."