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A rampant prescription, a hidden peril

The Boston Globe, April 30, 2012

Federal data show that roughly 185,000 nursing home residents in the United States received antipsychotics in 2010 contrary to federal nursing home regulators' recommendations—often elderly people like Murphy who have Alzheimer's or other dementias. This practice is alarmingly common in Massachusetts and across the nation, a Globe investigation has found. The drugs, which are intended to treat severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, can leave people in a stupor. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued black-box warnings about potentially fatal side effects when antipsychotics are taken by patients with dementia.