Monday, April 28, 2008

More: British Legislators Do the Right Thing: "The Government must end this needless abuse" Antipsychotic Drugging of Elderly

BBC News
Members of Parliament  urge cut in dementia drug use

MPs have urged the government to stop the "dangerous over-prescribing" of antipsychotic drugs to people in care homes with dementia.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia said the drugs should only be used as a last resort.

Elderly man

Research published earlier this month said the drugs had no benefits, and could even worsen patients' condition.

Alzheimer's groups said safeguards should be introduced to ensure the drugs were used only when essential.

There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK, but that figure is predicted to soar to well over 1.7m by 2051.

The recent study, by experts from Kings College London and Oxford and Newcastle Universities, found the drugs provided no benefit for patients with mild behavioural problems, but were associated with a significant deterioration in verbal skills.

Side effects previously cited include excessive sedation, dizziness social withdrawal, accelerated cognitive decline and severe sensitivity reactions.

There have also been suggestions that use of two of the drugs, risperidone and olanzapine, can increase the risk of stroke.

Five-point plan

The committee looked at the prescription of antipsychotics to care home residents.

It concluded that around 70% of prescriptions are inappropriate, equating to around 105,000 people with dementia.



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