Psychiatric Drugs Used for Dementia Patients in Nursing Homes Cause Undue Risk
Says Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
CHICAGO, IL, Dec 30, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Families with a loved one in a nursing home that has dementia should be vigilant about their care. Government inspectors from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently found that dementia residents are often being prescribed strong psychiatric drugs, but for off-label reasons. Medicines such as Seroquel and Zyprexa are being used to sedate these types of residents, and not necessarily for what they are supposed to do — help treat patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
“These medicines can cause serious injuries and deaths when improperly used,” said Chicago personal injury attorney Robert Briskman, Esq. “In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has sent out multiple warnings advising nursing homes to stop this practice.”
The HHS has recommended to the Senate Committee on Aging that Medicare should penalize nursing homes that prescribe antipsychotic drugs inappropriately. The penalties under consideration range from fines to barring nursing homes that violate safe medication use from Medicare, the HHS noted. In just six months, 14 percent of all nursing home patients were prescribed antipsychotics.