Nursing Homes Using Antipsychotics to Pacify Residents

March 20, 2013 | Crandall & Pera Law
Nursing Homes Using Antipsychotics to Pacify Residents

More than one in five nursing homes in the United States have been found to administer antipsychotic drugs to patients whose conditions do not warrant their use, exposing them to dangerous side effects, according to recent data.

Antipsychotics are commonly being prescribed to control agitation and combative behavior in residents who should not be receiving the powerful sedatives, especially patients who have Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Roughly 185,000 nursing home residents in the U.S. received these drugs in 2010 contrary to federal nursing home regulators' recommendations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued black-box warnings - the agency's most serious medication alert - about potentially fatal side effects when antipsychotics are taken by patients with dementia. The drugs, which are intended to treat severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, can leave people in a stupor.

"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," said Dr. Michael Gloth, a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine associate professor who specializes in the care of elderly patients. "So why are they being written?" Read the full details here:

A rampant prescription, a hidden peril

Nursing home negligence is widespread in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Too often the elderly or sick in nursing homes are subjected to malpractice, neglect or the improper use of medications to sedate the patients in an effort to allow inadequate staffing to continue.

If you or someone you love has been injured due to nursing home abuse or negligence, call the professionals at Crandall & Pera Law for a free case evaluation.