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)