Fewer Nursing Home Residents Taking Antipsychotic Drugs, Report Finds

Fewer long-term nursing home residents are taking antipsychotic medications, compared with 2011, according to a new government report. The decrease came after a campaign that targeted overprescribing, according to The Hill.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report found 18.7 percent of long-stay nursing home residents received an antipsychotic medication in the first quarter of 2015, compared with 23.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

In March, a report by the Government Accountability Office found evidence of widespread overuse of antipsychotic drugs by the elderly with dementia. The report called on Medicare to take immediate steps to reduce unnecessary prescriptions.

Full story of nursing homes taking antipsychotic drugs at drugfree.org

Federal Government Rarely Penalizes Nursing Homes for Overusing Antipsychotic Drugs

Although the federal government began a campaign in 2012 to get nursing homes to reduce their use of antipsychotic drugs, it rarely penalizes institutions that continue to use the drugs at high rates, NPR reports.

These drugs, designed to treat people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, can be deadly for older people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Despite this risk, almost 300,000 nursing home residents across the country are given antipsychotic medications, according to the article.

In Texas, more than one-quarter of nursing home residents are given antipsychotic drugs, compared with a nationwide average below 20 percent. The state has conducted a series of trainings for nursing home employees to teach them about alternatives to giving residents antipsychotic medications. Employees are encouraged to learn enough about residents to determine why they exhibit challenging behaviors, and to find ways to deal with these behaviors without antipsychotic drugs.

Full story of nursing homes and overuse of anti-psychotics at drugfree.org