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Parliamentary group calls for action on antipsychotic drugs

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Increased nursing support to reduce antipsychotic prescriptions must be part of the Government’s new strategy for dementia care, say MPs today

Increased nursing support to reduce antipsychotic prescriptions must be part of the Government’s new strategy for dementia care, say MPs today.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on dementia report points out that around 70% (105,000) people with dementia are wrongly being treated with the drugs.

The drugs are usually prescribed to help control behavioural symptoms such as aggression. But recent research by the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, London found they worsened symptoms of dementia such as verbal fluency.

They suggested psychological approaches could be used as alternatives to antipsychotics as well as alternative drug options such as cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine.

The APPG report calls for mandatory dementia training, better input from health professionals with regular visits from psychiatric nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists and GPs.

They also want to see use of antipsychotics for people with dementia included in Mental Capacity Act training for all care home staff, protocols for its prescribing and compulsory monitoring and audit of antipsychotics in this client group.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, called for further funding to develop more effective drugs for people with dementia. said:

‘The low priority given by the government to the development of new treatments for dementia is illustrated by the fact that only £11 is spent on UK research into Alzheimer's for every person affected by the disease, compared to £289 for cancer patients,’ she said.

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