Yesterday Trial News highlighted the results of a new investigation into the use of atypical antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes. As we have frequently reported on these pages, the use of these drugs often creates a large, unnecessary risk when given to certain elderly patients. Specifically, drugs like Seroquel, Risperdal, and Zyprexa come with a specific black box warning that off-label uses may increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia. Yet, despite these undeniable dangers, far too many facilities continue to use the drugs in just that way.
“Atypical” drugs refer to a newer type of antipsychotic medication or “second generation” pharmaceutical. Federal investigators with the Department of Health and Human Services analyzed the use of these drugs by looking at reimbursement claims submitted to Medicare. The results indicated that 76 percent of claims for these drugs were for off-label conditions and dementia. This was the case even though the drugs carry the specific warning that they are not approved for dementia-related treatments. In our area the use opens the door to many unnecessary Illinois nursing home injuries
The General Inspector of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expressed the sentiments of many upon hearing this news. He explained, “Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents, as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged and seek solutions. It is of great concern that so many nursing home residents are prescribed these drugs in the first place.”
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti believe that the quality of life of nursing home residents must be prioritized by their caregivers. This federal study sheds light on the massive problem of unnecessary chemical restraints that continue to be placed on residents to their harm. Be sure to keep a close eye on your loved ones in area nursing homes to ensure that they do not become victims of this unnecessary drug use.
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