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List of Dangerous Drugs Used & Abused by Nursing Homes

Senior medication

7 Antipsychotic Drugs Used and Abused by Illinois Nursing Homes

Antipsychotic drugs are sometimes given to patients living in nursing homes to calm their behaviors. But some of the most sensitive nursing home patients may be receiving antipsychotic drugs, even though there is no diagnosis of psychosis. For decades, this has been a growing problem for U.S. nursing homes and staff continue to wrongfully use the powerful medications in hopes to make their jobs easier. The misuse of these dangerous drugs is also known as a chemical restraint.

These are seven of the most widely used antipsychotic drugs abused by Illinois nursing homes today.

  1. aripiprazole (Abilify)
  2. clozapine (Clozaril)
  3. haloperidol (Haldol)
  4. olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  5. quetiapine (Seroquel)
  6. risperidone (Risperdal)
  7. ziprasidone (Geodon)

Antipsychotic drugs can be especially dangerous when used without physician consent or knowledge, a neglectful tactic used by care staff given that the misuse of these drugs is known to decline a person’s well-being drastically. The heavily sedating effect created by these drugs can cause severe side effects, including in some cases lethal cardiac issues, increase risk of stroke, diabetes, wandering and fatal falls.

What Is Being Done to Prevent Antipsychotic Drug Use?

In 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started to review current regulations and processes governing safety and quality of care in the nation’s nursing homes, including the misuse of sedative type and antipsychotic drug overuse.

A formal announcement from CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We’ve begun imposing stricter sanctions like denying payment for new admissions and per-day Civil Money Penalties on late adopters that have a history of noncompliance with our rules related to chemical restraints, dementia care, and psychotropic drugs, and have been determined in a current survey to be out of substantial compliance with those requirements.”

While we appreciate the Administrator’s attention to these issues, by experience, we also know stricter regulations are not enough to stop the drug abuse from happening. Caregivers must know more of their loved one’s nursing homes upon admission and make frequent visits seeking more information about drug use by asking these questions.

  1. What’s the nursing home’s current rate of antipsychotic medication use?
  2. Does the nursing home have specific policies and procedures related to the care of individuals with dementia? If so, does the policy include the use of non-medication-based approaches to care as a first attempt to respond to behavioral symptoms, which are often a means of communication, for residents living with dementia?
  3. What percentage of resident’s who have a diagnosis of dementia are currently being prescribed an antipsychotic medication?
  4. Does the nursing home participate in any efforts related to reducing the use of antipsychotic medication in nursing homes?

If you find or suspect that someone you love is being given, or has been given, antipsychotic drugs and has been injured or neglected as a result; you can help them by seeking legal support to fight against those responsible for their injuries.

Levin & Perconti: Chicago Attorneys for Abused Nursing Home Residents

For nearly three decades we have successfully defended the rights of the elderly against nursing home workers who feel drugging a resident to make their job easier is a best practice. Call us now (312) 332-2872 for a FREE consultation with one of our nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys.

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