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Nursing homes sedate residents with dementia by misusing antipsychotic drugs, report finds

Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Children complained about parents who were robbed of their personalities and turned into zombies. Residents remembered slurring their words and being unable to think or stay awake. Former administrators admitted doling out drugs without having appropriate diagnoses, securing informed consent or divulging risks. These are just some of the findings outlined in a new Human Rights Watch report, “‘They want docile:’ How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia.” The 157-page report, released Monday, estimates that each week more than 179,000 people living in US nursing facilities are given antipsychotic medications, even though they don’t have the approved psychiatric diagnoses — like schizophrenia — to warrant use of the drugs. Most of these residents are older and have dementia, and researchers say the antipsychotic medications are administered as a cost-effective “chemical restraint” to suppress behaviors and ease the load on overwhelmed staff.

What’s revealed in this report echoes the findings of a CNN investigation published in October. The CNN story described how one little red pill, Nuedexta, was being misused and overprescribed in nursing homes. What’s more, CNN learned that this overuse benefited the drugmaker to a tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, largely at the expense of the US government. The CNN report prompted an investigation into a California-based pharmaceutical company. The Human Rights Watch report shows that concerns about overmedicating nursing home residents with inappropriate drugs extends beyond this one pill.

Read the rest here:
http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/05/health/nursing-homes-dementia-antipsychotic-drugs/index.html

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