Drug use soars in aged-care facilities

From: The Australian March 07, 2011 12:00AM

MORE elderly people are being dosed up on powerful mood-altering drugs, according to a study that finds use of the drugs in some nursing homes has soared.

A study of nearly 2500 residents of 44 western Sydney nursing homes shows that nearly a quarter are taking antidepressants almost every day, up from 15 per cent in 1993.

The proportion on antipsychotics -- powerful drugs normally used to treat serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia -- rose from 22 per cent in 1998 to 28 per cent in 2009.
The expert who conducted the study has described the findings as mostly good news, because doctors had largely shifted to a newer generation of so-called "atypical" antipsychotics, and at lower doses, avoiding the unpleasant side-effects of older drugs, such as muscle stiffness... read the full story here.

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