US Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Wednesday that while he is pleased that the state has cut its rate of antipsychotic prescribing in nursing homes, he wants to see more progress. He made the comments after meeting with a group of elder care representatives to discuss a recent news report showing that nursing home residents in Connecticut – many with dementia — are still more likely to be given antipsychotics than their counterparts in 33 other states. On the positive side, the state’s usage rate has dropped 21.6 percent since 2011 – more than the national average. “The challenge is, how do we do better?” Blumenthal said. “Better results are well within reach,” but they require training, adequate staffing and “a new mindset and outlook” that allows for alternative approaches to antipsychotic prescribing.
Connecticut still ranks among the top 20 states in the use of antipsychotic drugs for elderly nursing home residents, but its rate of use has dropped 14 percent since 2011, new government data shows. The percentage of patients receiving antipsychotics in the state’s nursing homes fell from 25.72 percent in early 2011 to 22.38 percent this year, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The state now ranks the 18th highest in the country in antipsychotic use – down from 16th highest in 2011, and no longer ranked among the top four states, as it was from 2005-10. Antipsychotic drugs are an important treatment for patients with certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. But the Food and Drug Administration has warned that the drugs have potentially fatal side effects when used in elderly patients with dementia.