Dementia and Antipsychotic Drugs

A review of literature on the use of antipsychotic drugs reveals a high prevalence of the said factor in the United States. When cases of dementia are diagnosed, the physician has to first eliminate other treatment options for the symptoms before antipsychotic drugs are prescribed. However, for some symptoms such as restlessness and aggression, it has been noted that nursing home providers decide to apply antipsychotic medication to calm the patients without considering other forms of treatment. Estimates indicate that many physicians use antipsychotic drugs with dementia patients as a first resort without considering other non-drug ways of managing the symptoms. One of the main concerns that research shows is that there are cases of overprescriptions in nursing homes – a fact that can be attributed to the symptomatic behavior of the patients.
With the new policy on the use of antipsychotic drug to manage dementia patients, the number of patients prescribed with antipsychotic medication to manage their symptoms is expected to reduce significantly. Snowden, Sato and Roy-Byrne (2003) indicate that the training and education accorded to health and nursing home providers will be effective in reducing cases of improper prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs to dementia patients. Furthermore, it can be shown that the claims from Medicare for antipsychotic drugs, especially atypical drugs, have been on the increase, and close investigation revealed that the claims were not warranted.

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