Posts Tagged ‘antipsychotic drugs’

Drug Abuse: Antipsychotics in Nursing Homes

Last November, in what the U.S. Department of Justice called “one of the largest health care fraud settlements in U.S. history,” Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were fined more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges because of their aggressive marketing of drugs, including antipsychotics, to nursing homes, when they knew the drugs had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective for a general elderly population. The corporation also allegedly paid kickbacks to physicians, as well as to Omnicare, the nation’s largest¬†long-term-care pharmacy provider. Omnicare pharmacists were recommending Johnson…

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Nursing home resident advocates applauded federal action on the issue of using antipsychotics to treat elderly nursing home residents with dementia.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched its  ‚ÄúNational Initiative to Improve Behavioral Health & Reduce the Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Home Residents." The initiative aims to raise awareness of antipsychotic misuse, improve regulatory oversight and train nursing home workers on non-drug treatments for aggressive and agitated dementia behaviors. When prescribed inappropriately, resident advocates have argued, antipsychotics can increase the risk of death for nursing home residents with dementia. They say increased nursing home staffing levels and extra training, among other measures, can help curb the use of such drugs. Groups such as the American Health Care…

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Government, taxpayers, nursing home residents as well as their families and caregivers should be outraged and seek solutions.

 If you have an elderly loved one living in a nursing home, especially if they suffer from dementia, you may want to double-check their prescription medications. A recent government audit on Medicare spending shows some rather alarming practices in regard to the use of powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs. As The New York Times reports, nearly 1 in 7 nursing home patients, nearly all of them with dementia, are given powerful antipsychotic drugs even though the drugs are not approved for such use and are known to increase the risk of death, especially in patients with dementia. Ostensibly, the purpose of…

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