Santa Cruz Sentinel – May 15, 2011
A recent study by the Office of the Inspector General of the United States indicates that residents of some nursing homes may be regularly given atypical antipsychotic drugs as a means of chemical restraint, sometimes to the detriment of their health, including death.
The report, published May 9, states: “For the period January 1 through June 30, 2007, we determined using medical record review that 51 percent of Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs were erroneous.”
A member of Congress requested the office evaluate the extent to which nursing home residents receive atypical antipsychotic drugs and the associated cost to Medicare. The member expressed concern with these drugs were being prescribed for off-label conditions — i.e. conditions other than schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder — and/or in the presence of a condition specified in the Food and Drug Administration’s boxed warning.
“We determined that 83 percent of Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic drugs for elderly nursing home residents were associated with off-label conditions and that 88 percent were associated with the condition specified in the FDA boxed warning,” the Office of the Inspector General found.
The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has been concerned about this issue for some time. For more information, visit www.canhr.org/help.html
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