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Dementia Patients Given Dangerous Drugs In UK Hospitals

by Gopalan on October 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM
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Dementia Patients Given Dangerous Drugs In UK Hospitals

Dangerous drugs are being routinely prescribed to dementia victims on general hospital wards in the UK.

Ten leading charities, carers groups and experts have written to The Daily Telegraph saying: ''We cannot stand by while this scandalous abuse of vulnerable citizens continues.''

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The letter to The Daily Telegraph reads: ''100,000 people with dementia in care homes are being inappropriately prescribed a damaging chemical cosh of antipsychotic drugs and new research suggests that there is a significant problem in hospitals too.

''Antipsychotics should only ever be a last resort. This over prescription is abuse and it must stop.

''The government must urgently publish its plans to tackle the overuse of antipsychotics. These plans must deliver better support for people with dementia and those working with them as well as cracking down on inappropriate prescribing practice.
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''We need to make good care the norm and move away from resorting to dangerous drugs which can increase confusion and the risk of premature death. We must all work together to improve dementia care.

''We cannot stand by while this scandalous abuse of vulnerable citizens continues.''

It is signed by Neil Hunt, Chief Executive, Alzheimer's Society; Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive, Alzheimer's Research Trust; Jeremy Wright MP, Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia; Andrew Harrop, Head of Policy Policy, Age Concern and Help the Aged and others.

Neil Hunt of the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'The massive over-prescription of anti-psychotics to people with dementia is an abuse of human rights, causing serious side effects and increasing risk of death.

'These powerful drugs should only be used in a small number of cases. The Government must take action to ensure that these drugs are only ever used as a last resort.'

A spokesman for the Department of Health said 'The Government commissioned an independent review of prescribing anti-psychotic drugs to people with dementia and we expect to publish it, together with the department's response, shortly.

'People with dementia should only be offered anti-psychotics if they are severely distressed or there is an immediate risk of harm to the person or others.'

Source: Medindia
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