U.S. program targets antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter
U.S. program targets antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes
Many dementia patients getting these drugs as chemical restraints, officials say.

(HealthDay) -- U.S. health officials said Wednesday that they're hoping to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs among nursing home residents by 15 percent before year's end.

To achieve that goal, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it's launching the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care. The partnership involves federal and state officials, nursing homes and other providers, and caregivers.

According to CMS, overuse of in nursing home patients suffering from dementia is a significant problem. CMS statistics indicate that in 2010, more than 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels.

"We seek to ensure that nursing homes provide the best resident-centered care by creating a familiar and comfortable where residents' autonomy and choices in their personal lifestyle are honored," Dr. Shari Ling, CMS deputy chief medical officer, said during an afternoon news conference.

The goal of the program is to protect patients from unnecessary drug use, she said.

Use of antipsychotic drugs has grown and many of these drugs are used by patients diagnosed with dementia who can't always communicate their needs, Ling said.

Speaking at the news conference, Claire Curry, legal director of the Civil Advocacy Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center, said that " across the country are pleased to see CMS launch this initiative."

"The drugging of nursing home residents has long been a national disgrace," she said, adding that hundreds of thousands of long-term care residents are drugged inappropriately, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

These drugs carry a black box warning from the U.S. that they cause death in , Curry said.

"Advocates welcome every step taken to raise awareness about the dangers, to end unnecessary drugging and the harm it brings residents and to strictly enforce rules already in place to protect residents from unnecessary drugs, especially antipsychotics being used as chemical restraints," she said.

The CMS initiative includes:

  • Training that emphasizes high-quality care for nursing home patients.
  • Making data on antipsychotic drug use at nursing homes available on the website Nursing Home Compare.
  • Suggesting alternatives to antipsychotics such as exercise, outdoor time, pain management and planned activities for patients.

More information: For more on dementia, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Inspector highlights psych drug use among elderly

Nov 30, 2011

(AP) -- Government inspectors will tell lawmakers Wednesday that the Medicare health plan needs to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs to nursing home patients with dementia, an unapproved ...

Recommended for you

Supermaterial gives rejected drugs a new chance

12 hours ago

More than 80 percent of all drug candidates in the pharma R&D suffer from poor solubility and are therefore rejected early in the drug discovery process. Now Uppsala University researchers show that the new ...

Risk of antibiotic overuse in aged care settings

Jul 21, 2014

Antibiotics are being overused in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), and more integrated efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing practices need to be introduced, researchers say. 

Ruconest approved for rare genetic disease

Jul 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—Ruconest has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hereditary angioedema, a genetic disease that leads to sudden and potentially fatal swelling of the hands, feet, limbs, face, intestinal ...

NIH system to monitor emerging drug trends

Jul 17, 2014

An innovative National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) is being developed to monitor emerging trends that will help health experts respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

DanielHaszard
not rated yet May 31, 2012
Thanks for posting this vital information.The Eli Lilly company made an astounding $65 BILLION on Zyprexa that they PUSHED on the elderly and underage children (*Viva Zyprexa* Lilly sales rep slogan) with wanton disregard for the side effects
*FIVE at FIVE*
The Zyprexa antipsychotic drug,whose side effects can include weight gain and diabetes, was sold to Veterans,children in foster care, elderly in nursing homes.
*Five at Five* was the Zyprexa sales rep slogan, meaning *5mg dispensed at 5pm would keep patients quiet*.

*Tell the truth don't be afraid*-- Daniel Haszard FMI http://www.zyprexa-victims.com