Antipsychotic Drugs & Dementia Care: Resources and Information
Dementia is increasingly recognized as one of the most significant issues facing the elderly and their loved ones. Thirteen percent (13%) of all seniors suffer with Alzheimer’s Disease, the most notable (but not the only) type of dementia. Among our growing numbers of older elderly (people 85 or older) 43% have Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately for these individuals and their families, and despite the FDA’s ‘black box’ warning, powerful and dangerous antipsychotic drugs are frequently used to treat symptoms of dementia. These antipsychotics are used as a form of chemical restraint, often stupefying these individuals so that they are more easy to care for, particularly in nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living. In addition to destroying social and emotional well-being, these drugs greatly increase risks of stroke, heart attack, Parkinsonism & falls.
The misuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes in particular is a widespread yet preventable problem. Approximately one in four nursing home residents are given these drugs every day. As the U.S. Inspector General Daniel Levinson noted, “Too many [nursing homes] fail to comply with federal regulations designed to prevent overmedication, giving nursing home patients antipsychotic drugs in ways that violate federal standards for unnecessary drug use.” The Inspector General concluded, “Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents, as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged – and seek solutions.”
In response to the Inspector General’s report and consumer demands for a response, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched an antipsychotic drugging initiative in March 2012.
Laws, Regulations and Guidance
Other Useful Resources and Reports
Links for Further Information