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Nursing Homes Use Antipsychotic Drugs Unnecessarily

Garcia & Artigliere

Nursing homes are giving antipsychotic drugs to patients who don’t need them, according to a new government report. In a study of Medicare cases, the Health and Human Services Inspector General found that “antipsychotic drugs were given to nursing home residents “unnecessarily” over 300,000 times between January and June 2007.” More than half of those instances were overdose amounts.

Antipsychotic drugs like Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa are not approved for elderly patients with dementia. In fact, they have FDA’s most severe warning due to the increased risk of sudden death in patients with dementia.

The use of antipsychotic drugs on nursing home residents is a form of restraint—a chemical-induced restraint. CBS news reports of one woman who caringly moved her father to a Northern California nursing home, and within three days he “completely changed”—with glassed over eyes and a cracked mouth. Before the month was over, he was dead. He was given antipsychotic drugs unnecessarily.

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