Elderly dementia patients who are prescribed antipsychotic medications face a greater risk for a heart attack within the first month of treatment.
Seniors aging in place taking antipsychotics to treat aggressive and agitated dementia were compared with dementia patients not taking such medications. The group of seniors taking the medications had a hirer risk for heart attack compared to the group not taking the drugs. The heart attack risk gradually decreased over the next year.
Using these medications to control aggressive dementia patients is generally frowned upon in the industry and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced an initiative to combat their use in nursing homes.
CMS's "National Initiative to Improve Behavioral Health & Reduce the Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Home Residents" aims to raise awareness of antipsychotic misuse, improve regulatory oversight and train nursing home workers on non-drug treatments for aggressive and agitated dementia behaviors.
What is important for you is to be aware that there are alternative means to treat dementia patients that are far more dignified than putting them into a drug stupor. So be aware and question your care providers.
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