Sane Elderly Given Antipsychotic Drugs at Mass. Nursing Homes


BOSTON — Federal officials say nearly 2,500 Massachusetts nursing home residents were given powerful antipsychotic drugs last year that were not intended or recommended for their medical condition.

The Boston Globe reports that data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that 28 percent of Massachusetts nursing home residents were given antipsychotics in 2009. Of that group, more than one out of every five did not have a medical condition that called for such treatment.

Federal officials say the drugs are often given to patients with dementia, which puts them at risk for serious side effects, even death.

An official with the organization that represents the state’s nursing homes acknowledges that the number is too high and says better training is needed.

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