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Seniors being overmedicated with powerful drugs


According to inspectors from the US Department of Health and Human Services, strong psychiatric medications are often prescribed to seniors with dementia in nursing homes and care facilities for off-label reasons.

Families of the elderly may not be aware of what is happening, and vigilance is required to stay on top of the meds--to know what they are being used for and what they are supposed to be used for, which might be something entirely different. Zyprexa and Seroquel are designed for serious illnesses, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but are being used casually in eldercare to sedate those with dementia. These drugs have substantial side effects.

“These medications can cause serious injuries and deaths when improperly used. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has sent out multiple warnings advising nursing homes to stop this practice,” said personal injury attorney Robert Briskman, Esq.

The HHS has also advised Medicare to penalize nursing homes that inappropriately medicate their residents. The penalties might include barring nursing homes or fining them. The report found that 14% of all individuals in nursing homes were prescribed antipsychotics within just six months.

Briskman continued, “HHS’ testimony showed that nursing homes wanted dementia patients to sleep through the night and not be as aggressive. Nursing home professionals should follow the standard of care to treat patients with proper medicines and nutrition that will help stabilize their condition, and not hurt them needlessly.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, HHS

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