Older People’s Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochira said the use of
drugs to manage “challenging behaviour” in dementia patients was
She said robust data was needed to determine the true scale of the issue. She raised the matter at the assembly’s health committee inquiry.
written evidence, Ms Rochira said a “national mechanism” for the
collection of prescribing data for antipsychotic medication in care
homes should be developed and implemented by the Welsh Government and
Ms Rochira said: “A range of evidence
published in recent years has suggested that antipsychotic medication is
being inappropriately prescribed to people living with dementia in care
homes to manage so-called ‘challenging behaviour’, despite the fact
that other, non-pharmaceutical interventions would deliver far better
outcomes for individuals and have a positive impact upon their quality
She said one study had found “up to four out of five
older people living with dementia, who were being prescribed
antipsychotics, were gaining no benefit from them”.
is growing recognition of this issue across health and social care,
including the independent sector, it is vital that robust data is
collected to determine the true scale of this issue in Wales so that
appropriate action can be taken to prevent older people living with
dementia being inappropriately prescribed these powerful and sedating
drugs,” she added.
The Alzheimer’s Society told the health
committee’s inquiry that to improve understanding of the issue, the
Welsh Government should start audits of prescribing antipsychotics in
care homes to patients with dementia to improve clinical practice.
It called for ending routine prescribing and a reduction in the time and dosage where antipsychotics are required.
Antipsychotic drugs are primarily used to treat conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
survey in November 2016 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found
nearly one in five – 18% – of dementia patients were being prescribed