Intended for healthcare professionals


Poor service provision is blamed for overuse of antipsychotics in dementia patients

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 16 November 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4818
  1. Oona Mashta
  1. 1London

    About 144 000 UK patients with dementia are being given antipsychotic drugs unnecessarily, causing about 1800 deaths a year, a new report says.

    About 820 extra serious adverse events such as stroke each year can be attributed to inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics, say the report’s authors, led by Sube Banerjee, professor of mental health and ageing at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

    Only 36 000 patients may be deriving some benefit from treatment with antipsychotics, says the report on the use of such treatment in people with dementia, which was commissioned by the government.

    Professor Banerjee blamed the overuse of antipsychotics on a system failure.

    The report says, “Part of the reason for health and social care systems not being geared up to dementia is that this recent …

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