Nursing Homes Medicate Dementia Patients with Antipsychotic Drugs

A NPR investigative series reports that nursing homes commonly use antipsychotic drugs to “chemically” restrain dementia patients.  The off-label use of these medications is illegal and extremely dangerous.  The drugs, used to treat serious mental illnesses, can increase the risk for heart failure, infections and death in dementia patients.

Though well aware of the practice, the government rarely holds nursing homes accountable for this shocking practice, though it is trying to reduce the use of the drugs for dementia patients.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you can use interactive database in the December 8, 2014 piece, “Old and Overmedicated: the Real Drug Problem in Nursing Homes”, to determine antipsychotic drug usage at the facility and compare it to national and state averages.