Antipsychotic prescriptions in nursing homes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 29 August 2013 15:23
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has worked to increase the federal government’s actions to protect nursing home residents from unnecessary antipsychotic prescriptions and to protect the taxpayers from improper payments for these drugs.   In light of serious warnings about using these medications in dementia patients, and significant uses of the drugs in dementia patients in nursing homes, Grassley asked for a government inspector general audit of the practice.  The audit in 2011 found that 88 percent of the powerful antipsychotic drugs being prescribed to nursing home residents with dementia carry what are called black box warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.  The warnings cite an increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia.   With a fellow senator, Grassley wrote to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, seeking a description of the agency’s actions to protect nursing home residents from unnecessary antipsychotic prescriptions.  Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that “the national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long stay nursing home residents has been reduced by 9.1 percent since the last quarter of 2011.”  Grassley made the following comment on this development.

“The 2011 inspector general audit documented serious challenges for the federal agency that oversees nursing home safety.  The federal government was right to respond.  Seeing a reduction in the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes is a step in the right direction.  However, CMS needs to continue making progress toward protecting nursing home residents from unnecessary antipsychotic prescriptions.  The right kind and right level of medication are critical to nursing home residents’ quality of care.   The government needs to be sure nursing home residents are getting good care in keeping with federal standards and good stewardship of tax dollars.”

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