Should Antipsychotic Drugs Be Used To Treat Dementia In Nursing Homes?

Here are two questions that every person with an elderly loved one in a nursing home should ask:

Is my loved one taking antipsychotic drugs?
Should my loved one be taking antipsychotic drugs?

This month, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services released an extremely troubling report: a startling number of nursing home residents with dementia are taking antipsychotics – despite a black box warning regarding potential harm to the elderly, despite the fact that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved these drugs to treat dementia, and despite the fact that no one has proved that these drugs are effective in treating dementia at all.

While antipsychotic drugs were developed to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the shocking report found that 88 percent of the drugs are prescribed to elderly nursing home residents. Moreover, the report found that many of the seniors on the drug were either put on doses that were too high or on the drug for too long.

All the while, it is still unclear why physicians so often recommend that dementia patients are put on this drug. In the past, several pharmaceutical companies have been censured for encouraging doctors to use the expensive drugs for dementia patients without the approval of the FDA.

What should you do to keep your elder loved on safe from unnecessary medication and over medication? What can you do to prevent their risk of injury or death due to antipsychotic drugs? Until more research is done or until this investigation is concluded, the best thing that you can do is speak to your loved one’s doctor candidly about what prescriptions they are on and why they are taking them. In addition, be sure to choose a nursing home for your loved one that is sure to keep the best interests of its residents in mind rather than their profits.

Has your elderly loved one been injured or died because of an antipsychotic? Speak with a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney and defective drug lawyer today.