US Senate Takes Aim at Antipsychotic Overmedicating in Nursing Homes

Senators Charles Grassley, D-Iowa, and Herbert Kohl, D-Wisconsin, have voiced concerns that nursing homes are over-prescribing antipsychotic drugs to control the behavior of senior patients, reports say.

The Antipsychotic drugs, such as Clozaril, Abilify, and Seroquel – which are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – have been used to treat dementia, not psychoses. The senators reportedly stated. The senators believe the government needs to do a better job of protecting nursing home residents from unnecessary drugs.

They further submit that although often used to treat seniors with dementia, the drugs carry a warning that elderly people treated in this way have an increased risk of death, reports say.
Worse, reports say, a study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 14% of all nursing home residents with Medicare had claims for antipsychotics and 88% of the atypical antipsychotics prescribed were for treating dementia.

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