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July 11, 2017

Reducing Excessive Use of Antipsychotic Agents in Nursing Homes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Meyers Primary Care Institute, a joint endeavor of University of Massachusetts Medical School, Fallon Health, and Reliant Medical Group, Worcester
  • 2Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester
  • 3Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Boston
  • 4Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2017;318(2):118-119. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7032

The excessive use of antipsychotic drugs among long-term nursing home residents with dementia has been among the most challenging issues in the care of this vulnerable population. According to data from 2013-2014, dementia affects 50.4% of the 1.4 million persons residing in the 15 600 nursing homes in the United States.1 Despite long-standing and widely recognized concerns about safety and efficacy, antipsychotic agents, including older “typical” agents (ie, haloperidol and chlorpromazine) and newer “atypical” agents (ie, quetiapine, risperidone, and olanzapine), have been commonly used to treat behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

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