More than 100,000 dementia patients are given anti-psychotic drugs that 'may kill'
BY JENNY HOPE
28th April 2008
Thousands of dementia patients are being given dangerous anti-psychotic drugs just to keep them quiet, an official report has found.
The medication, which could increase the risk of premature death, is prescribed to control agitation, delusions, sleep disturbance and aggression. It is not licensed to treat Alzheimer's.
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But an official investigation has found that care-home staff are using the drugs as a first resort to control the behaviour of difficult patients with dementia.
A report from the all-party parliamentary group on dementia warns that almost three-quarters of those taking the drugs, up to 105,000, are given them inappropriately - at a cost of more than £60million a year.
There is also evidence that side effects can double the risk of users dying prematurely.
The report, called A Last Resort, says there is no regulation of their use and urges the Government to stop their over-prescription.
MPs are calling for three-monthly checks on Alzheimer's patients taking "dangerous" anti-psychotic drugs, to review their condition.