Anti-Psychotic Drugs Overused In Nursing Homes

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Most boomers are caregivers for our parents, either in our own homes, or indirectly at their own residences or in nursing homes. That is why we should be very concerned about the results of a study by the Boston Globe published today: Nursing homes are using anti-psychotic drugs as sedatives when patients don't even have a condition that warrants these drugs.

The Globe study found that more than one in five U.S. nursing homes are using anti-psychotic drugs for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other ailments associated with dementia - approximately 185,000 people who have not been diagnosed with a psychosis. The drugs are used to quiet patients, but they may actually leave them in a stupor, which is why, by the way, many people with schizophrenia and other psychotic illness may stop taking their medication.

But for those who are older, frail, and in nursing home dementia wards, they don't have a choice to stop taking their drugs.  Most do not even know what medicines they are taking.

Dr. Michael Gloth, a specialist in geriatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the Boston Globe: “We have an inordinate amount of prescriptions written for a population that is already frail, and we know these drugs increase the risk for side effects, including death,’’ Gloth said. “So why are they being written?’’

With apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Keep Your Parents Well.


The Boston Globe via USA Today

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