A recent investigation conducted by the center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has highlighted inappropriate method of treatment for hypertension in elderly American patients, availing care in Nursing homes.
It was found that among all other classes of drugs, Medicaid had spent the most on antipsychotic drugs. According to the Healthcare Information Company, IMS Health, antipsychotic drug sales in the US closed at $11.7 billion.
The use of these types of drugs on elderly patients may have been employed to keep a check on symptoms of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.
The center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has found out that almost 30% of the patients in nursing homes receive antipsychtotc drugs. Alarmingly, 21% of the patients receiving the drugs are not even diagnosed with psychosis, to warrant the use of such drugs.
This trend of using of anti-psychotic medication, is a cause of concern. "You walk into facilities where you see residents slumped over in their wheelchairs, their heads are hanging, and they're out of it, and that is unacceptable," says Christie Teigland, director of informatics research for the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.
She embarked on a study to understand the use of anti-psychotic drugs which revealed that nearly 1/3rd of New York's patients suffering dementia are treated with anti psychotic medication. What is worrying is the abuse of such drugs on the senior lot, she said.
Close on the heels of widespread scrutiny in the U.S, Johnson and Johnson has found itself in the midst of a law suit from the Arkansas attorney general about the company's misleading claims in the advertisements for the antipsychotic drug 'Risperdal'.
The federal law of 1987 had brought reprieve from certain objectionable practices against the mentally unstable elderly patients - like tying them down or sedation to control their behavior. Following this law, many elderly patients suffering dementia have availed nursing home facilities.
Training inspectors have been asked to monitor the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes to catch the early signs of medication abuse.