Antipsychotics + Nursing Home Patients = More Hospitalizations and Death, New Research Reports

Nursing home patients who take antipsychotics are hospitalized and die up to 2.4 times more often as patients who don't receive antipsychotics, according to research published in the May 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine periodical.  Antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa (olanzapine) and Risperdal (risperidone) have replaced older antipsychotics like Haldol (haloperidol) and are frequently used to treat behavioral complications from dementia.  According to the research, nursing home patients who take a newer antipsychotic medications were 1.9 times more likely than those who received no antipsychotic medications to be hospitalized or die within 30 days of receiving the medications.  Patients taking older antipsychotic medications were 2.4 times more likely to be hospitalized or die.  Read more about the effects of antipsychotics in nursing homes.  

Given that out of every 100 patients who are admitted to nursing homes, 17 begin taking the antipsychotics within 100 days, this research is a powerful warning that alternatives to antipsychotics must be explored and used.  Nursing homes can hire more staff and provide better staff education.  Will they?  If the nursing home experience of patients who don't receive antipsychotics provides any clue, probably not.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia