This quote by Danny Miller is one of my favourites, and is also used in the header of a blog I follow, The PPJ Gazette. This article although nor specifically discussing the dangers of the use of anti psychotics in dementia care, warns very clearly of the dangers of prescribing them, and is worth a read.
The blog is by Dr. Gary G. Kohls, who is a family practitioner, who specializes in holistic and preventive mental health care. He has expertise in the areas of traumatic stress disorders, brain nutrition, non-pharmaceutical approaches to mental ill health, neurotransmitter disorders, neurotoxicity from food additives (and other environmental toxins) and the problems with psychotropic drugs.
Dr Kohls begins the article with this:
“Over the years, I have formally taught my patients (as well as many participants in my lectures and seminars) about the un-advertised dangers of psychiatric medications – especially the long-term brain alterations and drug-dependencies that drug companies don’t test for before the FDA grants them marketing approval.”
The last sentence is the most worrying to me, and the push 10-15 years ago by researchers and clinicians to prescribe anti psychotics to people with dementia, to manage “challenging behaviours” and BPSD, is an example of how simply misuse of drugs can happen. Anti psychotics have also been prescribed to children the last few years to damage their behaviours, and although there are now warnings against doing it, this practice also continues.
The “Black Box Warning” against the prescription of anti psychotics in dementia care is currently an issue being discussed by the Federal government and the TGA in Australia. I wrote about it in the June/July issue of the Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Not just a challenging behaviour, Swaffer, K, AJDC, Jun-Jul 2015, pp21-24, saying:
“Stated in an article by NPR.org Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes, “Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia.” I could go on to list literally dozens of articles highlighting overuse of chemical restraints, but feel sure most readers of this journal have already read them.
They go on to say,
“Antipsychotics, however, are approved mainly to treat serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When it comes to dementia patients, the drugs have a black box warning, saying that they can increase the risk for heart failure, infections and death.”
Professor Henry Brodarty and colleagues in their study, Halting Antipsychotic use in Long Term care (HALT) Project propose a model for de-prescribing antipsychotics in residential care through person-centred approaches to managing challenging behaviours. A targeted, evidence-based training package has been developed to up-skill general practitioners and nursing home staff in this area, as well as in the quality use of medicines.”
Many people with dementia have recently have been asked if we believe the “Black Box Warning” against the use of anti psychotics in dementia care should be added to the packaging of these drugs in Australia. What a daft question… that is such a no brainer!