Advocates want new rules for antipsychotic use

Illinois advocacy groups are calling for an overhaul of antipsychotic drug use in nursing home residents. They want Gov. Pat Quinn's nursing home task force to recommend tough new rules for the use of those drugs, including restrictions on doctors who prescribe them.

Apparently, that task force plans to take up the issue by targeting the misuse of psychotropic drugs in the homes. "We want people to be safe and cared for in nursing homes, not threatened or unwillingly sedated," task force chairman Michael Gelder told the Chicago Tribune. But some of the changes advocates want would require legislative action.

The use of antipsychotics in the elderly has become controversial of late, with activists and others saying that too many older people have been prescribed the meds--and this in spite of a strong FDA warning against prescribing the so-called atypical antipsychotics to elderly people with dementia. In Illinois, advocates are calling for restrictions on Medicaid's reimbursement for antipsychotic drugs and for enforcement of rules requiring informed patient consent, among other measures.

- read the Tribune piece