Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are given harmful antipsychotic drugs each week, even though most have no psychosis to justify it. In 2019 only about 2% had qualifying conditions for such drugs.
The FDA only approves antipsychotics for people who have serious mental diagnoses, such as so-called schizophrenia. The danger of these drugs to older adults can be profound. They come with black box warnings from the FDA, saying they can increase the risk of death in older people, especially those with dementia.
“The high rate of antipsychotics use across our nation’s nursing homes shows that many facilities continue to resort to the use of these potentially dangerous drugs as a chemical restraint — in lieu of proper staffing — which has the potential to harm hundreds of thousands of patients.”
The extensive off-label use of antipsychotics in nursing homes was found in one study to be associated with a 50% increased risk of experiencing a serious fall-related bone fracture.
Some evidence suggests that some nursing homes may be falsifying psychosis diagnoses to avoid citations for inappropriate antipsychotic prescriptions. In 2018 in Missouri, data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show there were 108 citations for unnecessary use of antipsychotics in skilled nursing facilities (SNF). This involved 20% of all SNFs in Missouri which received at least one citation; and this had been increasing for at least four years.
“It is reasonable to conclude that the overuse and misuse of antipsychotics is pervasive and continues to occur at unacceptably high rates.”
Such extensive abuse of the elderly is not the result of medical incompetence. The abuse is the result of psychiatry maneuvering itself into an authoritative position over aged care. From there, psychiatry has broadly perpetrated the tragic but lucrative hoax that aging is a mental disorder requiring extensive and expensive psychiatric services.
Insist that any nursing home where an elderly person is to be admitted has a policy of respecting the resident’s wishes not to undergo any form of psychiatric treatment, including psychoactive drugs. Sign a “Psychiatric Living Will” to prepare for this and give a copy to the nursing home staff.