According to a study by the University of Pittsburg, off-label use of anti-psychotic drugs to treat residents of nursing homes run by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is all too common. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center found that one in four veterans living in a VA nursing home received anti-psychotic medicines even though 40 percent of such patients had no documented reason for needing the powerful drugs. The study found similar rates of anti-psychotic medicine usage in other nursing homes that were not run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of anti-psychotics in treating psychiatric issues, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome. However, the data shows that veterans in Alzheimer’s or dementia special care units had a 66 percent greater chance of receiving an anti-psychotic, and those with violent behavior were nearly three times as likely to receive an anti-psychotic medication, according to the study. More information showed that patients suffering from dementia but with no diagnosis of psychosis were as likely to be given anti-psychotic medication as those patients with diagnosed psychosis. There is little evidence to suggest that it is effective to use strong anti-psychotics to reduce behavioral problems in dementia patients. The FDA issued a warning back in 2005 and again in 2008 against using anti-psychotics in this way due to their association with an increased risk of death when used for behavioral disorders in patients with dementia.
The Virginia Personal Injury Attorney’s Perspective:
Given the recent studies showing the risks of overusing anti-psychotic medications, it’s surprising that the drugs are still being dispensed so freely to patients without a psychosis diagnosis. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective drug, you should contact an experienced VA personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Attorneys with our Virginia personal injury law firm have helped many victims of dangerous and defective drugs recover damages from companies whose negligence or disregard for consumer safety led to injuries.
If you or a family member has been injured by a dangerous drug, you can begin to learn about your legal rights and options by reading this article.
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