KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Feds Announce Effort To Slash Use Of Antipsychotics In Nursing Homes

An estimated 40 percent of nursing home residents with dementia receive the drugs, which are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Boston Globe: US Aims To Cut Use Of Drugs On Dementia Patients
Federal regulators announced a multiyear initiative on Wednesday to slash the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs on nursing home residents, saying that nearly 40 percent of residents with dementia were receiving the powerful sedatives though they did not have a condition that would warrant it. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it was aiming to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents by 15 percent by the end of this year, through training of nursing home staff and of state inspectors on alternatives to using antipsychotics to quell aggressive and agitated behavior among people with dementia (Lazar, 5/31).

HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer: U.S. Program Targets Antipsychotic Drug Use In Nursing Homes
According to CMS, overuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home patients suffering from dementia is a significant problem. CMS statistics indicate that in 2010, more than 17 percent of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels (Reinberg, 5/30).

Kansas Health Institute News: Initiative Aims To Reduce Use Of Antipsychotics To Treat Dementia
A national partnership is working to reduce use of antipsychotic medications for nursing home patients, officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today. The Partnership to Improve Dementia Care aims to reduce off-label antipsychotic use by 15 percent by the end of 2012. Treating dementia with antipsychotics is considered an off-label use of the drugs, which are approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (Cauthon, 5/30).

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