What’s a black-box warning? So named because of the black border that
surrounds it on the drug label, it’s the FDA-required disclosure that
a drug can have serious or life-threatening side effects.
Antipsychotic drugs Abilify, Geodon, Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa
have black box warnings which you can see here:
I would pay careful attention to antipsychotic medications. … these
drugs are being used extensively off-label in nursing homes to sedate
elderly patients…"St. Petersburg Times, November 18, 2007 Dr.
David Graham, FDA drug safety expert, testifying at a congressional
hearing[Off label – the use of a drug for which there is no FDA
Letters to the editor: email@example.com The Daily Telegraph
Half of nursing home residents wrongly druggedLondon, EnglandBy Kate
Devlin – Medical Correspondent
Sep 9, 2008
Experts who looked at 22 nursing homes found 51 per cent of residents
were being inappropriately given drugs, including anti-psychotics,
antidepressants and painkillers.
More than 420,000 people live in care and nursing homes in Britain,
of which around 405,000 are elderly.
Previous estimates have suggested that 100,000 residents, suffering
from dementia, were being drugged unnecessarily every year.
However, if the results of this study are replicated across the
country, it suggests that around 200,000 patients are being given
inappropriate medication in homes.
Some elderly folks simply prefer to keep busy, scoff at antipsychotic
drugs and shoo away shrinks
Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat MP, said: "This adds to the
growing evidence that inappropriate medicating in care homes is much
more routine in practice than we would like to believe.
"And when it comes to the prescribing of anti-psychotics, these drugs
are actually killing people. The Government must come up with
concrete proposals to crack down on this problem." Mr Burstow has
previously called for GPs who overprescribe to patients in homes to
The use of anti-psychotics has become increasingly controversial in
recent years after they were linked to strokes. A report released
last year suggested that the drugs could be responsible for more than
23,000 deaths in care homes every year.
Lizzie McLennan, from Help the Aged, said that "too many" elderly
people were being drugged in care homes.
She called for GPs to be forced to make regular visits to care homes
for which they prescribe and for routine reviews of residents’
The nursing homes study shows that when pharmacists reviewed the
medication residents had been prescribed 171 out of 334 were
receiving drugs that they did not need.
The findings, by researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast and
Brown University in Rhode Island, were presented at the British
Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester.
Another study also presented at the conference shows that staff at
nursing homes believed that the culture in a home could lead to over
prescribing and patients receiving powerful drugs they did not
need "to make life easier".
The Government has ordered a review into inappropriate prescribing in
care homes, which is due to report later in the autumn.
Critics say that problems can arise because some GPs visit care homes
only rarely and rely on issuing repeat prescriptions from one year to
the next, and because of the commercial relationship that can exist
between GPs and homes.
Anti-psychotic drugs are not licensed to treat dementia but are
commonly prescribed to control agitation, sleep disturbance and
aggression in sufferers in care homes, previous studies have shown.
Link to story: http://tinyurl.com/5zocu8
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