ELDERLY PATIENTS IN NURSING HOMES ARE BEING GIVEN DANGEROUS ANTIPSYCHOTICS
- November 29, 2018
Putting your loved one in a nursing home is not always an easy choice but it is sometimes a necessary one. After all, some older men and women may suffer from an illness or an injury that they can no longer manage and require the assistance of a loving medical staff. However, what if those caretakers were not as kindhearted as they appear to be? What if you found out your mom, dad, or friend was being fed dangerous, potentially addictive medication that can potentially kill them? According to reports, an overwhelming amount of nursing home patients suffering from dementia had been fed powerful antipsychotics that are used to treat dangerous behavioral and mental problems. Let’s take a closer look at the details and find out more.
Black Box Warning
Based on a recent report from Human Rights Watch, an estimated 175,000 dementia patients in the United States nursing homes are being fed antipsychotic medications. Overall, these drugs include Risperdal, Seroquel, and Abilify, a series of meds that are typically used in the treatment of PTSD, severe bouts of depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Likewise, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has confirmed that these drugs are used in combination with other medications in the treatment of dementia.
According to Hannah Flamm (New York University law school fellow working with Human Rights Watch), members of the nursing home staff will distribute these drugs because they believe cries of pain or anger are the direct result of dementia.
Disturbingly, though, the FDA has issued a black box warning (the strongest FDA warning) to these drugs, which indicates that dementia patients may experience an unusually high risk of death when taking these meds. Based on the experience of one Kansas home director, these antipsychotics are “go-to” solutions.
Not as Popular
Fortunately, this habitual distribution of antipsychotics might be dwindling. Based on data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the number of nursing home patients who had consumed these drugs dropped from 24% to 16% from 2011 to 2017. CMS has also established a future goal (set up by the National Partnership to Improve Dementia) to decrease this percentage even more by 2019.
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