Feds Act to Reduce Drug Injury Cases Involving Elderly Patients Taking Antipsychotic Medications

by Keith Adkins

Mental illness is a prominent condition in nursing homes across the United States today. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than two-thirds of nursing home residents are afflicted with conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Traditionally, antipsychotic medications were used to treat many of these patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called for warning labels to be placed on the packaging of these particular drugs after it was discovered they could lead to an increased chance of a drug injury like heart failure, infection, and death in elderly patients with mental illness.  Despite these warnings, more than 300,000 nursing home residents continue to receive treatment using antipsychotic drugs.

The federal government is pushing to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes by:

  • Promoting Individualized Care- A patient’s history, lifestyle, and preferences should be taken into consideration. An article from NPR News used an example of letting a former night watchmen stay up at night after curfew and allowing him to sleep during the day.
  • Supporting Educational Campaigns- Federal programs that provide training to nursing home staff are currently under-utilized, considering approximately 10 nursing homes in a Texas county that has 96 such facilities took part in a free training DVD provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Strictly Enforcing the Law- The Nursing Home Reform Act states residents have a right to be free from chemical restraints, yet few nursing homes are penalized for using antipsychotic drugs as a means to control a patient’s behavior.

At Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys, we are aware of the need to provide better care for the elderly in nursing homes. That’s why our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers are here to help you if your loved one was harmed as the result of taking antipsychotic medications while being housed in a long-term care facility. We’re available to speak with you anytime by calling (877) 579-6800.