A recent investigation by CNN has unveiled a number of questions surrounding the use of Nuedexta in nursing homes. Nuedexta is a drug approved by the FDA to treat PBA (pseudobulbar affect), a condition which causes sufferers to experience uncontrolled laughing or crying. Nuedexta use has increased 400% in the past four years in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, even though only about 1% of the overall population is affected by PBA, according to researchers.
At one facility CNN investigated, about a quarter of residents were given Nuedexta. In that and other nursing homes, CNN investigators found that staff had been speaking to doctors and psychiatrists who were funded by Nuedexta’s manufacturer. In some cases, the psychiatrists and doctors issuing the medication were linked with Nuedexta’s manufacturer. Investigators suggested that the drug could be used to help control patients who were a challenge due to dementia and other disorders, but pointed out that there is no research suggesting how Nuedexta might impact the elderly or how it might work with patients who have dementia but not PBA. The drug has not been approved for those uses.
Overmedication and South Florida Nursing Homes
The Nuedexta investigation is not the only instance of overmedication in nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home residents in Hollywood and other communities in South Florida are vulnerable to overmedication as well. In some cases, this occurs due to incorrect record-keeping or poor training, leading staff to administer larger or double-doses to patients. In other cases, overmedication is more troubling. In some situations, nursing homes overmedicate residents to keep them compliant or to help manage residents who may be challenging.
Overmedication is a serious abuse, and one that can have devastating results. When used outside of approved uses, medication can cause. In addition, all medication can cause serious side effects and complications. The elderly may be more vulnerable to these negative effects if they are ill or have existing conditions. In addition, keeping an elderly person medicated to keep them compliant can deprive them of quality of life. Someone who is heavily medicated may not experience the world around them fully and may not be able to take part in activities they would otherwise be able to partake in.
Families and friends of elderly residents of nursing homes need to stay alert to signs of overmedication. Sudden lethargy or changes in activity levels as well as changes in personality should prompt questions. If new medications are prescribed, it’s important to ensure the senior’s regular family doctor is the one prescribing or at least approves the medication change after a visit. In addition, any new medication should be reviewed to ensure it does not negatively interact with any medication already being taken.
If overmedication or any kind of abuse or negligence has impacted you or an elderly family member at a nursing home in Southern Florida, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation with a Hollywood nursing home abuse attorney. Our offices in Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead allow us to serve the entire South Florida area and we’ve worked with concerned seniors and families for years. In fact, our legal team has more than 60 years of combined experience as well as a track record of securing tens of millions of dollars on behalf of plaintiffs. Your first consultation with us is free and comes with no obligation.