Antipsychotic Use in Nursing Homes Causing Many Adverse Effects in Elderly

Rob Wipond
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The extensive off-label use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes is causing many adverse effects and providing limited benefits, according to a review of the literature in Health Policy.

Led by University of California researchers, the review identified 25 relevant studies. “Antipsychotic medication use in nursing home residents was found to have variable efficacy when used off-label with an increased risk of many adverse events, including mortality, hip fractures, thrombotic events, cardiovascular events and hospitalizations,” the researchers wrote. “Non-pharmacological interventions should still be considered the first-line treatment option for nursing home residents with dementia related behavioral disturbances, as more studies are needed to establish safer criteria for (antipsychotic medication) use in nursing homes residents.”

Chiu, Yunwen, Lisa Bero, Nancy A. Hessol, Joel Lexchin, and Charlene Harrington. “A Literature Review of Clinical Outcomes Associated with Antipsychotic Medication Use in North American Nursing Home Residents.” Health Policy 0, no. 0. Accessed March 16, 2015. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2015.02.014. (Abstract)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The only benefit that comes from giving these toxic drugs to the elderly falls on the side of those taking care of these people since the drugs are nothing but major tranquilizers. I worked in a good nursing home/retirement center and even there these things were given to make people compliant to the wishes, demands, and commands of the staff. If you don’t want to go to bed at 7 PM when the staff want you to do so then you find a doctor’s order in your chart for Haldol or something along that line and all of a sudden you turn into a drooling zombie who is restrained in a Gerry chair. If you’re too vocal in your complaints, well, low and behold, you find a doctor’s order for Haldol in your chart and there you are in your little Gerry chair! These drugs are used in settings where you find the elderly to control people and for no other reason! It’s the same reason as to why children are given these toxic drugs and the same for people who are labeled as “mentally ill”. It has absolutely nothing to do with “treatment” and everything to do with controlling behavior in all sectors of our society. If kids act too rambunctious in school guess what they’re going to get?

    • Stephen Gilbert,
      You’re so exactly accurate in your comments on Mar. 17. I watched what they did to my father and other seniors in 2 nursing homes in Chicago and suburbs. You’ve got aids that work 2 shifts 6 days a week in different homes for low wages and are tired and want compliance from inmates so they themselves can get much needed rest. One bad nurse can pull a whole floor of employees to her bidding and they won’t complain even if his or her mistakes kills a patient, in fear of losing their jobs.
      Many times I worry about us aging psych survivors and how many are unaware that if we end up in a nursing home we’d most likely face more forced neuroleptics . We must find or create alternatives. Meanwhile we must try to liberate the children. Take care, Fred

    • The antipsychotics do need to be banned, world wide. The medical community seemingly can’t handle them responsibly.

      And it’s concerning to me that a drug class, neuroleptics, that is the “gold standard” of care for behavior problems is also known to cause “memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis, delirium, hyperactivity, twitching or jerking movements, stereotypy, and seizures.”

      How to the doctors know whether the memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, hallucinations, psychosis or delirium are caused by the drugs, or by the disease?

  2. Antipsychotics are awful. These drugs can cause what they are meant to treat. Especially in the withdrawal of them.

    Just like how antidepressants can cause severe depression/anxiety and suicide especially in their withdrawal as well.

    These prescriptions psych drugs are more damaging and dangerous than any drugs on the street in my opinion. Studies have shown they alter brain wide structure after a single dose. Antidepressants REDUCE connectivity structure throughout the brain. When we look at drugs like psilocybin mushrooms where one dose changes structure by INCREASING connectivity throughout the brain and people report feeling joyous, emotionally connected, loving, and more empathetic afterwards. But how do people who take their first antidepressant dose feel afterwards? Complete opposite of that. They say “oh you feel worse at first, but it takes time to start feeling better”. No it takes time for an SSRI to disconnect your brain enough to the point you don’t have the ability to care or feel an emotion anymore and are made a purely logic mode zombie that’s suicidally addicted to lobotomy pills.

    Whats even more embarrassing with the medical industry is that some studies have been claiming they have found abnormalities in brains of people with schizophrenia and severe depression. What those studies don’t seem to realize is that they are studying brains that have literally been changed by psych drugs like antipsychotics and the studies are acting like “Aha! See, there are brain abnormalities in people that are suffering from these conditions”. These idiots don’t seem to realize what caused those abnormalities. Or perhaps they do realize it and are just paid by big pharma to keep the medical profession thinking that there are natural occurring visible brain abnormalities associated with these conditions.

    Its scary that all these psych drugs are now in our public water supplies in trace amounts. Fish are turning into asexual killers when exposed to the trace amounts SSRIs in our water:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/prozac-made-fish-aggressive-killed-mates/story?id=19395014

    And the trace amount of SSRI exposure in our water supply has been shown to activate the same autism genes in fish as in humans. Traces amounts of SSRIs could very well be whats activating these genes in genetically susceptible people:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21882-antidepressants-in-water-trigger-autism-genes-in-fish.html#.VQjK-OHGFp0

    Sadly, the medical industry will continue to be controlled by the pharmaceutical industry which will do whatever it can to keep negative drug studies from being done. And even when they are rarely done, I hate to think that even if tomorrow a study found that antidepressant or antipsychotic exposure, even a trace amount, activated autism genes in people that it would go unnoticed. Nobody would care. It may get mentioned on a news segment, but that’s it. Nothing would change with prescribing rate of these drugs. People would continue to pour money into our autism research charities wondering why we can’t figure out the cause for autism when we’ve links slapping us in the face for so long.