Report States that Nursing Homes Vastly Overprescribing Antipsychotic Drugs
A new study published by the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch has found that about 179,000 nursing home residents are being given antipsychotic drugs, even though they don't have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses that those drugs are designed to treat. Researchers focused on six states, including California and Texas, which have the most skilled nursing facilities. They used publicly available data, along with hundreds of interviews with residents, families and state ombudsmen, the officials who deal with complaints about long term care facilities.
Most of these drugged residents have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia and antipsychotics aren't approved to treat these diseases. Even more troublesome is that these antipsychotic drugs come with a "black box warning" from the FDA, stating that they increase the risk of death in older people with dementia.
The study also concluded that antipsychotic drugs were often administered without informed consent and for the purpose of making dementia patients easier to handle in understaffed facilities. These are clearly deliberate and troubling medical errors that can hopefully be stopped in the future.
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