Fourteen percent of elderly nursing home residents had Medicare claims for atypical antipsychotic medications in a six-month period in 2007, and more than half were prescribed erroneously, according to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The drugs were either not used for medically accepted indications or not documented as having been administered to the elderly nursing home residents, among whom dementia is common. The widespread use of antipsychotics occurred despite their carrying a black-box warning about increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia. Information about the FDA warning appears in Psychiatric News at http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/43/14/1.1.full. An article on the OIG report will appear in the June 3 issue.
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