Friday, February 03, 2017 by Vicki Batts
Older individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease are often prescribed antipsychotic drugs. This controversial practice has been frowned upon for many years. New research has now found that the use of these drugs in Alzheimer’s patients substantially increases their risk of mortality — which begs the question: is this risky practice being conducted with malicious intentions?
The majority of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years of age or older. It affects over five million people in the United States alone, but it is estimated by the year 2050, that number will reach up to 16 million. And in 2016, it was estimated that Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia would cost the US roughly $216 billion. It is costly and time-consuming — by 2050, it is expected the costs of caring for people with some form of dementia will reach a devastating $1 trillion.
In other words: to promoters of the depopulation agenda, old people with Alzheimer’s disease are an easy target. They’re costly and they can’t function independently; a more cynical person might even say that they are a drain on the system. And in many nursing homes, patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are often given antipsychotic drugs simply to keep them quiet and placid in their new environment — even in spite of the tremendous risks they pose.
Between the years of 2005 and 2011, a team of researchers studied some 58,000 patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Just over 25 percent of the patients in the study were prescribed some type of antipsychotic medication. Those taking the drugs exhibited a stark increase in mortality risk; they were 60 percent more likely to die because of their medication.
The risk of death was at its peak when patients first began to take the new drugs, but the patients’ mortality risk remained elevated even when the drugs were taken long-term. Patients that were taking more than one antipsychotic exhibited an even higher risk than those taking just one of the risky medications; taking two nearly doubled the chances of dying early. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest research at Scientific.news]
While the study found a correlation between taking an antipsychotic and a higher risk of death in Alzheimer’s patients, a direct cause-and-effect link was not ascertained. The research team, led by Marjaana Koponen, a doctoral student from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland, does say that their findings support previous data, however.
Antipsychotic drugs have never been approved for use in dementia or Alzheimer’s patients by the FDA, but the practice remains frighteningly common. Approximately one-third of dementia patients who spend at least 100 days in a nursing facility will be given some type of antipsychotic — roughly 300,00 people each year. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest regulatory headlines at FDA.news]
Along with the increased risk of mortality, antipsychotics increase the risk of other health conditions in older people. They can cause low blood pressure, movement disorders, and also tend to increase the patients’ risks of falling and getting hurt.
Attorney Joni Moore says that she has sued numerous nursing homes in the state of California “for failing to get informed consent when they use antipsychotic drugs, as required by law.” Moore told NPR, “We learned that the families really weren’t told anything other than, ‘The doctor has ordered this medication for you; please come sign a form,'” says Moore.
One of her clients was a Ms. Kathi Levine, whose mother Patricia Thomas, had Alzheimer’s disease. Thomas had appeared to be doing well until she had a nasty fall and fractured her pelvis. After a brief hospital stay, Thomas went to a nursing home for rehabilitation. Within a week of her arrival at the facility, “[S]he was in a wheelchair, slumped over, sucking on her hand, mumbling to herself, completely out of it, not even aware that I was there.”
Thomas was so out of it, she was unable to participate in her rehabilitation exercises, so she was discharged. It was then that her daughter learned that the nursing home had loaded her mother up on heavy-duty antipsychotics. Ms. Thomas had been prescribed both Risperdal and Haldol — two very strong drugs. It is worth noting that this drug combination is known to be potentially life-threatening to begin with. She never spoke again and two months after being discharged, she passed away.
Levine and her attorney, Moore filed a class-action lawsuit against the nursing home and a settlement was eventually reached.
It’s not just the failure of nursing homes to get informed consent — it is the very concept of using drugs to “quiet” patients that should be intolerable. It seems rather unlikely that most doctors who prescribe these drugs to the elderly are totally unaware of the potential risks; it’s not even an FDA-approved practice, and these drugs come with black-box warning labels on them that explicitly state they are risky for patients with dementia. So you have to wonder: is it really on purpose? (RELATED: Follow more news on brain health at Brain.news.)