Science Daily is reporting that a study shows that newly admitted elderly patients to nursing homes have a higher rate of being prescribed antipsychotic drugs than in previous years. This study found that in 2007, almost one-third of U.S. nursing home residents received antipsychotic drugs. The FDA has issued a warning that there is a great risk of death among older adults with dementia who are taking these agents to control behavioral symptoms. A recent clinical trial has concluded that the adverse effects of atypical antipsychotic drugs have outweighed the benefits of those with Alzheimer’s. This shows that many doctors are over prescribing these drugs, and it is having an adverse effect on patients.
The nursing home study found that about 30 percent of the residents in the study received at least one antipsychotic medication in 2006 and 32 percent of those did not have dementia or another indication that they needed to be on this medication. Some experts believe that the organizational culture of the nursing homes may encourage the prescribing of antipsychotic. Hopefully, the FDA warning and other studies will move the prescription statistics in the opposite direction. If not policies may have to target those nursing homes that have a high antipsychotic prescription rate so as to improve patient care. To read more about the nursing home study, please click the link.
Once physical restraints were banned from most nursing homes, it appears that doctors began using antipsychotic medications to chemically restrain patients. Oftentimes this leaves patients feeling lethargic and they are not themselves. If you believe that your loved one is being prescribed antipsychotic, please approach the nursing home doctor and inquire why they are being prescribed. If you learn that they are being over prescribed so as to chemically restrain the patient, consult a Chicago nursing home lawyer.