November 12, 2009
As many as many as 144,000 people suffering from dementia are being given anti-psychotic drugs unnecessarily, according to a review ordered by the Department of Health.
Excessive use of the medication causes an estimated 1,800 deaths and almost as many strokes among older people every year, the study revealed.
The care services minister, Phil Hope, accepted all the recommendations in the review and promised a fundamental change in the treatment of those suffering from dementia.
The numbers being given “chemical restraints” will be reduced, extra training will be given to nursing home staff, more psychological therapies are to be made available and a national clinical director for dementia will be appointed.
The author of the study, Sube Banerjee, professor of mental health and ageing at the institute of psychiatry at King’s College London, said that as few as 36,000 patients were benefiting from the use of anti-psychotic drugs, but their use was widespread and usually unquestioned.