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Too Many Long-Term Care Dementia Patients Overprescribed Drugs

According to a recent article published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, too many seniors living in long-term care facilities who suffer from dementia are being prescribed drugs that cause them further cognitive impairment, such as confusion. The study showed that 60% of seniors who live in long-term care facilities are prescribed both cholinesterase inhibitors to treat the signs of dementia, and anticholinergic drugs, which often cause confusion and other cognitive impairments. However, only about 40% of seniors living in the community take both types of drugs. The seniors who are at the highest risk of the resulting drug interactions are those who are undergoing treatment by multiple doctors and those who reside in long-term care facilities.

As a result, the researchers involved in the study recommend that physicians more carefully monitor the multiple medications that vulnerable seniors often take for a wide variety of medical conditions. More specifically, doctors are not supposed to prescribe anticholinergic drugs for individuals with dementia, although they routinely do so. These drugs can treat medical conditions such as asthma, depression, sleep problems, and incontinence, in addition to symptoms caused by dementia. On its own, one such medication may not cause any unwanted side effects. However, when a patient with dementia takes more than one anticholinergic drug, he or she is at risk for complications. Although this study concerned seniors in Canada, similar results among American seniors with dementia are probable.

At Boller & Vaughan, we know firsthand just how prevalent the negative interactions of certain drugs can be, particularly with respect to the most vulnerable patients residing in healthcare facilities. If your family member has suffered abuse, neglect, or recurrent overmedication, we are here to protect your rights and represent your interests, no matter what the case may involve. Our law firm has the experience that you need in a case such as this, so that you can explore all of the options that are available to you, and decide what legal avenue to pursue. Call the Wisconsin nursing home neglect attorneys today at (608) 268-0268 and schedule a free appointment.