Anti-Psychotics Used In Nursing Homes Can Be Harmful
Anti-psychotic medications persist at high levels in U.S. nursing homes despite evidence they have few benefits and can be harmful, researchers say.
Becky A. Briesacher of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester and colleagues assessed the level of anti-psychotic use in U.S. nursing homes from September 2009 through August 2010.
They used prescription dispensing data of a large, long-term care pharmacy that serves half of all U.S. nursing homes residents. The data included state location, patients' sex, age, enrollment dates and national drug codes for all drugs dispensed regardless of payer -- e.g., Medicare Part D, private insurance or out of pocket.
"The prescribing of anti-psychotic medications persists at high levels in U.S. nursing homes despite extensive data demonstrating marginal clinical benefits and serious adverse effects, including death," Briesacher said in a statement. "However, imprecise and outdated data have limited the understanding of the current state of anti-psychotic medication prescribing in nursing homes."
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found the overall sample of 1.4 million nursing home residents, 22 percent received 1 or more prescriptions of anti-psychotics.