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Medical News and Perspectives
July 11, 2012

CMS Seeks to Reduce Antipsychotic Use in Nursing Home Residents With Dementia

JAMA. 2012;308(2):119-121. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7422

Recognizing that too many residents of nursing homes are improperly receiving antipsychotic medications for dementia, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched an initiative May 30 to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents by 15% by the end of 2012.

The inappropriate use of antipsychotics in nursing home patients is a serious problem. In 2005 the US Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory warning that treatment of behavioral disorders in elderly patients with dementia with atypical antipsychotic medications is associated with increased mortality (http://tinyurl.com/6ws7ap2). Meanwhile, studies by CMS have shown that almost 40% of nursing home patients with signs of dementia were receiving antipsychotic drugs at some point in 2010, even though there was no diagnosis of psychosis. Data from CMS, which pays for most nursing home care through its Medicaid branch, also show that in 2010, more than 17% of nursing home patients had daily doses exceeding recommended levels.

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