A recently released report revealed that 20% of all nursing home residents in the United States had been given antipsychotic medications, typically for off-label uses. The study was done of a very large sample of patients, more than 1 million nursing home patients that were given drugs by Omnicare, the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy, and found that 22% of all residents had been given at least one prescription for an antipsychotic last year.
This continued high usage of antipsychotic medications is troubling given that study after study has shown that there are almost no benefits to using such drugs and that serious health effects, including death, can result.
The drugs used most commonly include drugs that were designed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa were the most often dispensed. These drugs are typically used for off-label conditions, most commonly dementia.
Even more troubling than the fact that so many had been prescribed antipsychotic’s is that of the larger group, only 7.5 percent had been given only one antipsychotic. The rest had been issued multiple prescriptions with a median number of 10 antipsychotic prescriptions.
The findings revealed that nursing home facilities in the West prescribed the fewest antipsychotics, on average in 17 percent of patients. Those in the South were given the most, with an average of 28 percent of nursing home residents in the region being given at least one antipsychotic.
The study found that the number of patients receiving such powerful antipsychotic medications has stayed reasonably consistent over the years, with about as many being prescribed such drugs 25 years ago. Unfortunately the level has stayed the same despite efforts by legislators and health professionals to lower the usage of unnecessary and dangerous medications in nursing homes.
The Virginia 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 overuse of a prescription medication, 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 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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