Antipsychotic prescriptions for people with dementia massively under-reported, suggests study
Published 18 October 2012
The inappropriate prescription of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia may be under reported by nearly 50 per cent, according to a study released today (18 October 2012).
Research by academics at the Universities of Aston and East Anglia examined data from 59 GP practices in Kent on the prescription of antipsychotic drugs. The authors found that 15.3 per cent of people with a diagnosis of dementia were receiving low dose antipsychotics and that people in care homes were over three times more likely to be prescribed the drugs. The researchers argue that these results, repeated nationally, would indicate that antipsychotic prescriptions could be as much as 46 per cent higher than reported.Alzheimer's Society comment:
'These dangerous drugs treble the risk of stroke, double the risk of death and rob people with dementia of their dignity. For those with the condition antipsychotics are akin to a chemical cosh, but sadly this research suggests their prescription may be massively under reported.
Every GP practice in the country has a responsibility to help stamp out the inappropriate use of antipsychotics. Improving clinical understanding of dementia and ensuring that GPs are trained in the condition is essential to make sure people are supported to live well and that antipsychotics are only used where they would have a clinical benefit.'
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