Are Nursing Home Residents Receiving Dangerous Drugs?
Carefully monitor medication being given to nursing home residents, as there have been reports of residents receiving powerful antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress issues relating to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
According to National Public Radio, this practice is known as “chemical restraint.” Among the drugs used are Risperdal and Seroquel, which are approved to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. NPR reported that the drugs used commonly have black box warnings, some of which say they can increase a user’s risk for heart failure, infections and death.
A 2011 study found that “88 percent of Medicare claims for antipsychotics prescribed in nursing homes were for treating symptoms of dementia, even though the drugs aren’t approved for that.”
NPR reports the federal government launched a campaign in 2011 to reduce antipsychotic drug use at nursing homes by 15 percent. Although prescriptions have dropped over the last three years, almost 300,000 nursing home residents are still given antipsychotic drugs.
If you would like to see information about the antipsychotic medications prescribed by facilities in your area, you can click on the NPR link located at the bottom of this page.
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