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Saturday 26th May 2018

Dementia drug use cut urged

28th April 2008

A parliamentary group has called upon the government to ensure that the "dangerous over-prescribing" of antipsychotics to the elderly is stopped.


A committee of MPs, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, found 70% of antipsychotic prescriptions - given to about 105,000 dementia sufferers - were not appropriate.

The group said that elderly people in care homes remained taking the drugs for longer then was needed and should only be prescribed the medication when all other treatment options had been explored.

700,000 people have dementia in the UK, and predictions estimate that more than 1.7 million people will suffer from the condition by 2051.

Research, conducted by Kings College London and Oxford and Newcastle Universities, discovered that antipsychotic medication did not improve the condition in people who had "mild" dementia and was actually linked with a decline in verbal ability.

The committee has put forward a proposal which it wants to include in the government's National Dementia Strategy, which will be released later in 2008.

The plan wants to ensure that care centre workers receive specialist dementia training and are supported by GPs and psychiatric staff. It also wants to see patients' families consulted about medication and to make certain that patients are reviewed every 3 months.

The committee also want the the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence to undertake a cost-effectiveness review and for the Care Quality Commission to carry out a national audit.

Jeremy Wright MP, chairman of the group, said: "The government must end this needless abuse and make the five-point-plan a key element of the strategy."


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