A call to action

A call to action on thE use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia

The right prescription: a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia    

The Dementia Action Alliance has launched a call to action on the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia.

The aim of this call to action is that:

All people with dementia who are receiving antipsychotic drugs should receive a clinical review from their doctor to ensure that their care is compliant with current best practice and guidelines and that alternatives to medication have been considered by 31 March 2012.

Antipsychotics are drugs designed to treat conditions like schizophrenia, however they are often inappropriately prescribed to people with dementia as a first response to behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia like distress or agitation.

In some cases the use of antipsychotic drugs is the right treatment option, but it is estimated that around two thirds of the use of antipsychotics in people with dementia is inappropriate. The use of antipsychotic drugs is linked to serious side effects for people with dementia, creating mobility problems, sedation and sometimes death, particularly when used for longer than 12 weeks.

To achieve a reduction in the use of these drugs, eight groups, including people with dementia and carers, GPs, leaders in care homes and pharmacists, are being asked to sign up to commitments outlining how they can play their part in ensuring reviews take place.

To support progress towards achieving this call to action, the Dementia Action Alliance has produced best practice guidance for people with dementia and carers and health and social care professionals on the use of antipsychotics.

For copies of these resources and for more information on antipsychotics, please visit alzheimers.org.uk/antipsychotics

For information on how to get involved with this call to action, please visit the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s website

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