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Senators Hear About Overuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

Washington, DC
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Special Committee on Aging examines the widespread use of these drugs among dementia sufferers, despite FDA "black box warnings" against it as well as a high cost to taxpayers.

David Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, released a report on the overuse of antipsychotic drugs which said the two main problems are "overmedication and Medicare pays for drugs it shouldn’t.”

Dr. Jonathan Evans with the American Medical Directors Association said the drugs are used "as chemical restraints.”

Suggested use for antipsychotic are for diseases such as bi-polar and schizophrenia, but atypical antipsychotic are often prescribed “off-label” to dementia patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities who exhibit symptoms of agitation and other aggressive behaviors, even without a diagnosis of psychosis.

Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 4:10pm (ET)

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