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Antipsychotic prescriptions for dementia need annual review


Dementia patients who are given antipsychotic drugs should have their prescriptions reviewed within a year, experts have claimed.

The Right Prescription campaign aims to reduce the use of antipsychotics by encouraging a review of medications by March 31.

Supporters want all those involved in the care of dementia patients, including GPs, psychiatrists and care home leaders, to commit to the cause.

Research has shown that antipsychotics almost double the risk of early death when taken over a prolonged period.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The danger of prescribing antipsychotics long-term for anything other than exceptional circumstances is well established.

“Action to reduce the prescription of these drugs and develop alternative treatments has lacked urgency.

“This campaign, fully supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK, should renew that urgency and drive home the need to invest in more research so that safer, more effective treatments can be found.”


Readers' comments (5)

  • This is not a very new idea. What we do need is more training in care homes, so that staff are able to recognise triggers and deal with them effectivley without reaching for antipsychotics.

    Also we do need to rule out physical problems first.

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  • shouldn't there be more regular reviews, at least, three monthly? much can change in a year, especially if a patient is on medication they may not, or no longer, need. is this just another excuse due to poor funding?

    in any case nurses should be constantly monitoring and reporting on all their patients on medication and this must be adapted accordingly.

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  • Adrian Bolt

    Care homes have been using anti-psychotics to subdue elderly confused patients for years. It was going on when i was a student and I expect it is still going on now. In my day the drug of choice was Meleril. Difficult patient? Introduce Meleril. Still difficult? Up the Meleril.(Repeat to fade). It is sooo much easier than 1:1 nursing.

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  • "It is sooo much easier than 1:1 nursing"

    Is it cheaper too?

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  • Adrian Bolt

    Not in the long run, broken hips, operations, hospital stays, being sued etc etc etc.

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