GPs told to stop ‘chemical cosh’ for dementia victims which cause hundreds of deaths

From: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2017473/GPs-told-stop-chemical-cosh-dementia-victims-cause-hundreds-deaths.html

Last updated at 12:20 AM on 22nd July 2011

Fears: Needless drugs nicknamed a ‘chemical cosh’ are causing deaths, it has been claimed

Fears: Needless drugs nicknamed a ‘chemical cosh’ are causing deaths, it has been claimed

Doctors will be told not to prescribe needless ‘chemical cosh’ drugs to dementia sufferers amid concerns that the medicines are causing hundreds of deaths a year.

Around 180,000 elderly patients with Alzheimer’s and similar memory-loss illnesses are taking some form of antipsychotic medication to control symptoms such as aggression.

But the drugs, dubbed ‘chemical cosh’ due to their dangerous side-effects, have been blamed for causing 1,800 deaths a year.

They are also known to worsen symptoms of confusion, dizziness and unsteadiness and often lead to falls.

Ministers are concerned that many GPs hand out the drugs ‘inappropriately’ without considering other forms of care and treatment.

Under new guidelines, family doctors are being told to review every single patient taking one of these drugs to consider whether it is necessary.

There are concerns the drugs are being prescribed simply to sedate patients to make their carers’ jobs easier.

Campaigners, including the Alzheimer’s Society charity, claim there are far more effective and less harmful treatments.

This week scientists demonstrated that simple painkillers including antipsychotics were just as effective – and far less harmful.
Dangerous: Critics say that doctors should be prescribing other sorts of drugs

Dangerous: Critics say that doctors should be prescribing other sorts of drugs

The researchers working at Kings College London pointed out that patients were often aggressive because they were in pain.

Other forms of therapy such as crosswords, singing and problem-solving exercises to keep patients’ minds active are also thought to be effective.

Nearly a quarter of the 750,000 people in Britain with some form of dementia are prescribed an antipsychotic drug. Numerous studies have shown that patients who take them over a long period are twice as likely to die early as those who do not.
Antipsychotics can increase symptoms of dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, five people die every day as a result of these drugs and another four come to some form of harm.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2017473/GPs-told-stop-chemical-cosh-dementia-victims-cause-hundreds-deaths.html#ixzz1SoiydWhL

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