Study Shows the Overuse of Psychiatric Drugs in Nursing Homes

Date: March 9, 2015

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office has revealed the overuse of psychiatric drugs in nursing homes.

Psychiatric drugs such as Abilify, Risperdal, Zyperxa and Clozpine are used to help calm down nursing home patients, especially ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia. The overuse of these drugs, seems to be a trend in nursing homes that are lacking the proper amount of staff. The overuse of these drugs are causing more harm than good. According to the Food and Drug Administration, these use of these drugs are related to a increase in deaths in the type of individuals typically in nursing homes. Studies have also found that these drugs could increase the risks of falls that could bring on further health complications.

A possible reason why these psychiatrists are over prescribing drugs is that drug companies are providing financial incentives or kickbacks. An example of this was the case of a Chicago psychiatrist who received about $60,000 in illegal kickbacks from drug companies. In another case, a man paid the government $3.79 million dollars in order to settle his lawsuit against 140,000 false claims with Medicare and Medicaid.

The overuse of psychiatric drugs also is putting a financial burden onto the Medicare program. In its guidelines, the Medicare program is required to cover the entire price of these psychiatric drugs. Toby S Edelman who works at the Medicare Advocacy said “We could save money and provide better care if nursing homes reduced the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs.”

Attorney Sean McDonough has been a partner of Dougherty, Leventhal and Price for over twenty years. He concentrates in personal injury cases with an emphasis in nursing home abuse. If you suspect nursing home abuse, do not wait until its too late. Call DLP and make an appointment with Attorney Sean McDonough today.


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Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.