Tools Help Reduce Inappropriate Prescribing of Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic prescribing for patients with dementia has received intense scrutiny lately. Data suggest that in some Texas facilities physicians add new diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, to residents' clinical records to justify antipsychotic use, even in residents without a history of mental illness. According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications can harm people with dementia, as noted in the Food and Drug Administration's black box warning, which appears on a prescription drug's label and is designed to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks. 

Yet, in spite of increased mortality risk, HHSC notes that antipsychotics continue to be used as a chemical restraint in nursing home residents with dementia but no underlying mental health issues.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is aware of this issue. CMS conducts focused dementia care surveys targeting nursing homes with high antipsychotic use for people with dementia. HHSC says these surveys help ensure facilities provide high-quality, person-centered care and use more non-pharmacological approaches to dementia care.

Physicians play a key role in reducing the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications. HHSC has created tools to help provide education and resources for prescribers as part of an initiative to reduce inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medications. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services also has initiatives that help prescribers improve dementia care. Visit the HHSC Appropriate Use of Antipsychotic Medications webpage to access these tools.

Action, Nov. 1, 2016

Last Updated On

October 31, 2016

Related Content

Psychiatric illness