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Minister calls for new approaches on antipsychotic drugs reduction

Published 2 November 2011

Paul Burstow MP, Care Services Minister, will be giving a speech today at the National Dementia Congress about the over prescription of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia.

He will say that the drugs are killing people, increasing the risk of strokes and other life threatening conditions. Every year 1,800 people die prematurely as a result of being prescribed these drugs.

Last November the Department of Health set a target to reduce antipsychotic prescriptions to people with dementia by two thirds in a year. Early indications suggest this target has not been met. Paul Burstow is expected to say he will take whatever steps necessary to ensure inappropriate prescriptions levels are reduced.

Alzheimer's Society comment

'It is an absolute travesty that nearly 150,000 people with dementia are still being inappropriately prescribed dangerous antipsychotic drugs. We hear all too often from carers how antipsychotics have left their loved ones unable to walk or talk and robbed of their dignity. These drugs double the risk of death and treble the risk of stroke yet they have little benefit and should only be used as a last resort when other treatment options have failed.

'This abuse must end. The government has had two years to find a way to significantly reduce these prescription levels. Something more needs to be done. We need to see a mandatory review of antipsychotic prescriptions after 12 weeks put in place. We call on all doctors and care providers to work with us to end this chemical cosh.'


Jeremy Hughes
Chief Executive
Alzheimer's Society