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Drugging Of The Elderly With Antipsychotic Drugs


One of the most despicable forms of elder abuse is a nursing home’s use of antipsychotic drugs (Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Haldol and others) for the purposes of sedating and silencing elders with dementia. One in four nursing home residents in California is on one antipsychotic drug or another. In most cases, these drugs are given with no valid medical justification and in violation of a warning by the Food and Drug Administration telling people with dementia that these drugs increase — in fact nearly doubles — their risk of early death. Elders and their families are seldom informed about the health hazards these drugs pose, despite having laws that require the nursing home to obtain “informed consent” before these drugs can be administered. In fact, most families are unaware that their loved one is on an “antipsychotic” until it is too late.

The nursing home puts residents on antipsychotic drugs because sedated residents are less likely to ring their call bells, ask for help or complain to their families about how they are being treated. Antipsychotic drugs are used as “chemical restraints,” which California law defines as “a drug used to control behavior and used in a manner not required to treat the patient’s medical symptoms.” (22 California Code of Regulations §72018)

Elders with dementia on antipsychotic drugs become lethargic and apathetic. They may refuse to eat or drink enough liquids, leading to dehydration and malnutrition. Dehydration may set them up for a special form of heart attack. They are more likely to develop swallowing problems and aspirate.

Alameda Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer | Oakland Elder Abuse Attorney | The Law Offices Of Felicia C. Curran — No Charge Until You Win

Nursing home residents in Oakland and the Bay Area have a right to be free of “chemical restraints.” Contact us online in Oakland, California, or by calling 510-823-2331, for a free initial consultation. All cases are taken on a contingency fee basis, and there is no charge until you win.

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