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Nursing Home Patients and Over Prescribed Medication that can lead to Death

Another way that people in nursing homes are abused is by the overuse of Anti-Psychotic drugs such as Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify. Under the right circumstances, these drugs can be very beneficial. Under the wrong circumstances or in the wrong doses, however, these drugs can cause catastrophic injuries or death in a nursing home or treatment care facility. It has been shown that these drugs have been overused in nursing homes leading to catastrophic injuries and death.

These and other similar drugs are most commonly prescribed to treat people with bi-polar or schizophrenia conditions. Doctors are now, however, prescribing these drugs to nursing home residents suffering from dementia and to other adults suffering from insomnia. In fact, approximately 22 percent of all nursing home residents in the United States are prescribed these and other anti-psychotic drugs. Although some patients do benefit from these drugs, it has been shown that these drugs are now commonly over prescribed.

The American Psychiatric Association launched an initiative to help curtail the overuse of anti-psychotics in an effort to inform the public about the potential risks of overuse, USA Today reported. Joel Yager, a psychiatry professor at the University of Colorado Boulder reported to USA Today that doctors “are doing what they think might help,” but they are relying too heavily on these drugs without trying other alternatives first or carefully evaluating the effects anti-psychotics have on their patients.

Other reasons these drugs have been used is to restrain unruly patients, which is no longer legal, and, it is believed that the use of these drugs is in response to inadequate staffing in nursing home.

It is not uncommon for a nursing home patient to take several different medications each day and antipsychotic drugs can interact negatively with their other medications and can further heavily sedate an elderly person, which in turn can make them become unresponsive or unconscious. These drugs can also make a nursing home resident more prone to falls and other injuries. Use of these drugs has also been tied to an increase risk of strokes and respiratory conditions as well.

In 2005, the Federal Drug Administration warned that patients suffering from dementia have a remarkable 60 percent chance of dying from the use of the anti-psychotics. Regardless of these statistics, close to half of all dementia patients are prescribed anti-psychotics.

Given the evidence, the families and loved ones of dementia patients should carefully consider whether they want their elderly loved one prescribed these medications considering the potential risks.

Legislators and the federal government have taken actions to curtail the use of anti-psychotic drugs for dementia patients and improve their quality of care. The “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care” initiative aimed to reduce the use of anti-psychotics in nursing homes by 15 percent by the end of 2012. That goal was not met, however, but there has been significant progress and lawmakers hope that goal will be met by 2013, and there is a new program to address the issue set to be launched in 2014.

If you or a loved one have been subjected to Nursing Home Abuse by the overuse of any drug, then please Contact Us for your free legal consultation today. We are here to help you and keep your loved one safe!