A report by the Department of Health and Human Services finds that a shocking 80% of elderly nursing home residents in the country have been administered antipsychotic medications, for off-label purposes.Because these medications have a high risk of deaths, it is statistically likely that some of the patients died as a result of the use of these medications. The off-label use of these medications raises the likelihood of claims for nursing home abuse, medical malpractice and product liability. Atlanta injury attorneys will need to closely monitor the developments in this area and will likely get calls from families of patients who were treated with these medications.
According to the report, out of 300,000 nursing home residents studied in 2007, approximately 90% received powerful anti-psychotic medications that are typically used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.There are studies to prove that elderly persons who receive antipsychotic medications can be at a high risk of death.In spite of this, these vulnerable persons were overmedicated, and there is no reason to believe that things have changed dramatically between 2007 and now.
Moreover, it seems highly likely that the pharmaceutical industry has been behind this overmedication of nursing home residents.One of the ways in which pharmaceutical companies increase their profits is by promoting off-label uses of their drugs.An off-label use of a drug is one which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.Doctors can prescribe a drug for off-label uses, but a company is not allowed to market the drug for these purposes.
However, as Atlanta nursing home abuse attorneys have noted in the past, that hasn’t really stopped pharmaceutical companies from aggressively promoting off-label uses of their drugs, especially among elders.The more numbers of uses these drugs are prescribed for, the higher the profits for the company.
In addition, the report also found that one in five residents in nursing homes have been administered these drugs in a manner that violates federal standards for their use.These patients were either given dosages that were too high or were on the medication for too long a period of time.