"Killing of the Nemean Lion," by Orin Zelest
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Now they are willfully and purposefully killing seniors in nursing homes with anti-psychotics.  Everybody who has ever had the misfortune of being so much as introduced to Mr. Risperdal et al knows that this class of drugs is strongly not recommended for persons with dementia, or even those over a certain age.

Look at the news flash that I came across today.  I cannot tell you how sickened and appalled I am:

Audit Finds Widespread Use Of Antipsychotic Drugs In Nursing Homes

  • Topics: Aging, Mental Health
  • By Scott Hensley, NPR News
  • May 11, 2011
  • This story comes from NPR's health blog Shots.

  • About 1 in 7 elderly residents of nursing homes receives a so-called atypical antipsychotic medicine, a federal audit finds, despite an increased risk of death when the medicines are used to manage dementia in older people.
  • A review of medical records found that most of the atypical antipsychotics were being used outside the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the medicines to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Indeed, 88 percent of the Medicare claims for the drugs show they were prescribed for elderly people with dementia.
  • "Despite the fact that it is potentially lethal to prescribe antipsychotics to patients with dementia, there's ample evidence that some drug companies aggressively marketed their products towards such populations, putting profits before safety," wrote Daniel Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, whose office did the analysis.
  • The top three drugs, based on the number of claims found in the 2007 audit, were:
  • 1. Seroquel from Astra Zeneca
    2. Risperdal from Johnson & Johnson
    3. Zyprexa from Eli Lilly.
  • To Levinson's point on marketing, nursing home pharmacy chain Omnicare agreed to pay the federal government $98 million in 2009 to settle charges it took kickbacks from J&J to boost sales of Risperdal.
  • The OIG made some recommendations for improvement, such as better education and halting payments for unnecessary use of medicines.
  • Despite the risks, the prescription of the medicines isn't likely to disappear. As psychiatrist Daniel Carlat told the New York Times, there aren't very many other good options. "Doctors want to maximize quality of life by treating the patient's agitation even if that means the patient will die a bit sooner," Carlat said.
  • Indeed, as NPR's Joanne Silberner reported back in 2005 when warnings were raised about both the newer, atypical antipsychotics and their predecessors it treating the elderly, a doctor told her he would continue to use the medicines carefully and in low doses because they still carried benefits.

They just don't want to deal with the old people acting out because they are bored out of their minds, have no human company many of them and that includes the callous, bored medical and nursing staff, have to follow a constrained daily schedule that they had nothing to do with setting up and that probably doesn't make much sense to them, have no one to speak to about their fears and concerns, and so on.  So, like moms putting toddlers in front of soap operas or cartoons on the TV, or drunks dragging the kids they are in charge of into bars for the afternoon, or... no... wait... It's like none of these things.  None of these examples is the same as killing a person because you don't feel like dealing with him or her any longer.

There is an excellent blog that everyone should read if they have ever had the remotest interest in mental illness and mental health, and the courage and intelligence and guts it has taken one woman to survive the drug damage done by psychiatrists with their killer pills.   It's called Beyond Meds.  You can read much more that than the triumph of the will that let this brave woman survive years of withdrawal from psychiatric drugs like Risperdal (I'm on it), Lamictal and the Benzodiazephines. She does so much good by spreading her message of hope.  She is now collecting statements to present at the conference of the American Psychological or Psychiatric Association.  Forgive me, I forget which.  Everything on her website is both unbelievable and obviously true and chilling to the core.  These people practicing medicine are ruining others for life, sometimes just ending their lives like those in the above article.

I have been on the three drugs mentioned:  Seroquel, Risperdal and Zyprexa.  I have been a rebel all my life, refusing to conform to very little that didn't fit my personal values and beliefs.  I am 60 years-old now.  I have no doubt that should I ever end up in a nursing home, which is likely to hear my grown kids tell it, they will label my bipolar disorder a bunch of goofy things, assume I have dementia too, and feed me the very drugs that have been the bane and future nightmare of my existence.  Lamictal, a drug that the author of Beyond Meds unbelievably got off of, has an allergic reaction on some people that begins with a rash or a sore.  If it's bad, the reaction can prove to be fatal.  I had an open, gaping, hideous wound pop up out of nowhere during my first week on the drug.  I was hospitalized at the time and no one said a word or cautioned me.  Even the doctors could hardly stand to look at me because the sore was so ugly, but it was a clear sign I was having an allergic reaction to a newly prescribed drug and could die.

But then that's how mentally ill people are often treated.  The rules of decent behavior towards them don't seem to apply and aren't practiced by everyone, even doctors.  Go fill out Beyond Meds' form for the APA about your psychiatric experiences and read while you're there her letter to feminists and liberals, which I am both.  She is, I hate to say it, right on.  These supposedly open-minded subsets of larger groups are just as quick or quicker to label the mentally ill and treat them like non-thinking, monsters of attack as soon as they hear the diagnosis.  It must stop.  The stigma causes suffering in people long before they are diagnosed.  The stigma begins to destroy the mentally ill when they are first feeling something is wrong but wouldn't dare tell anybody about it, not even their family physician.  Like that ever does any good.  If you just want an anti-depressant or a tranquilizer and call it the end of the day and that's all she wrote, perhaps.

I have to go look to find out who is protesting these deaths and what is being done to stop them. This article makes it pretty clear it will continue to be business as usual in that particular nursing home, even if Medicare/Medicaid stops paying for the drugs used.  They'll find a way to siphon the money from M&M, and the killing of innocent people will go on as it has for years despite huge legal settlements brought against the drug companies.

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