In a recent New York Times article
Gardiner Harris sites that “in nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents, almost all of them with dementia, are given powerful a typical antipsychotic drugs, even though the medicines increase the risks of death and are not approved for such treatments, a government audit found.”
These potentially legal drugs include Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Geodon. Furthermore, the drug companies that make these products are said to be profit driven, purposely marketing their medications for dimentia of nursing home residents.
The article further notes that nursing home residents, taxpayers and the government should seek solutions for the antipsychotic medications that are paid by a federal health care program. More than half of them were wrongly given, costing the program $116 million in six months.
A governmental audit is suggested to determine whether the prescribed medications are in fact appropriate for the patient. It is expected that this may be opposed by doctors and those who view it as a doctor-patient intrusion.
“While the Food and Drug Administration has warned doctors that using antipsychotic drugs in elderly patients with dementia increases their risks of death, doctors continue the practice because they have few other good choices, said Dr. Daniel J. Carlat, editor in chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report, a medical education newsletter for psychiatrists.”
According to Harris, “the auditors found that 83 percent of antipsychotic prescriptions for elderly nursing home residents were for uses not approved by federal drug regulators, and 88 percent were to treat patients with dementia — for whom the drugs can be lethal.”
It is important to note that federal rules require that any government-paid drug ought to be distributed with the approved use by one of three independent drug encyclopedias or by the government itself. To learn more, click here.