Despite a growing body of research that clearly demonstrates that in the vast majority of cases medicating people who live with dementia with antipsychotic drugs does more harm than good, physicians continue to prescribe antipsychotics such as risperidone (Risperdal) and quetiapine (Seroquel) to people who live with dementia, and some family members support these decisions to prescribe.
Why do medical practitioners and family members balk at taking people who live with dementia off these dangerous and largely ineffective drugs? A variety of factors underlie their resistance.
In June 2015, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement released the results of a pan-Canadian collaborative project aimed at reducing the use of antipsychotic medication in long-term care facilities for the elderly. The project achieved astonishing results, which I documented here. It showed, for example, that taking people off antipsychotics reduced agitation, reduced falls and reduced resistance to care.
In this clip, Kaye Phillips, Senior Director at the CFHI, and leader of the highly successful project explains two of the reasons families and medical practitioners may want to keep people who live with dementia on antipsychotic medication rather than using non-pharmacological approaches to address expressive behaviour.
Image copyright: warrengoldswain / 123RF Stock Photo