Prescribing probably dangerous antipsychotic medicine to folks with dementia has elevated by greater than 50% on common in care properties through the pandemic, new analysis suggests.
Academics on the University of Exeter and King’s College London in contrast present prescribing with pre-coronavirus ranges.
They mentioned the variety of folks with dementia receiving these prescriptions had soared from 18% to twenty-eight% since 2018 – with prescription charges of over 50% in a 3rd of care properties.
The analysis information in contrast greater than 700 care house residents collaborating in two research both aspect of the pandemic.
Professor Clive Ballard, who was a part of a nationwide marketing campaign in 2009 to scale back antipsychotic prescribing by half, mentioned: “Covid-19 put tremendous pressure on care homes, and the majority of them must be applauded for maintaining relatively low antipsychotic prescribing levels amid incredibly difficult circumstances.
“However, there were very significant rises in antipsychotic prescribing in one third of care homes and we urgently need to find ways to prioritise support to prevent people with dementia being exposed to significant harms.”
Antipsychotic medicine are used to deal with among the extra distressing behavioural and psychological signs of dementia, akin to agitation and psychotic episodes.
They have solely very restricted, short-term advantages in treating psychiatric signs in folks with dementia – however considerably enhance the chance of great uncomfortable side effects, together with stroke, accelerated decline and dying.
Covid-19 offered unprecedented challenges for care properties, the place round 70% of residents have dementia.
Some of the challenges dealing with care properties included entry to PPE, staffing ranges, isolation, and caring for residents in lockdown circumstances.
Dr Richard Oakley, from the Alzheimer’s Society, added: “This study shows the shocking and dangerous scale of the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat people with dementia in care homes.
“Alzheimer’s Society has been campaigning for a move away from the model of ‘medicate first’ and funded research into alternatives to antipsychotic prescriptions, focused on putting people living with dementia at the centre of their own care.
“This drug-free, tailored care can help avoid the loss of lives associated with the harmful side effects of antipsychotic medications.”
An NHS spokesman mentioned: “The NHS has significantly reduced the number of prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs since 2010 with guidance issued to GPs, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals on how to provide care that meets the specific needs of each patient.
“Expert pharmacy teams have also been rolled out across the country to give advice to patients and maximise other treatment options, where appropriate.”