“Doing damage in delirium the hazards of antipsychotic treatment in elderly people”

This paper was published in the Lancet in late last year. It is a two page article that is worth reading in full. All screenshots below are from this paper:


The authors commented that:


The authors were of the view that:


Scottish Government figures confirm that prescribing of antipsychotics is rising in our elderly. It thus seems important to consider why this may be. The authors continue:


There is always the risk in times of austerity, and when staffing levels are not ideal, that:


The authors state:


The promotion of off-label use of antipsychotic medication was instrumental in my petition to the Scottish parliament for a Sunshine Act:


The authors continue:


But what does the evidence have to say? The authors state:


The authors continue:


The authors ask:


The authors conclude with Dr William Osler:


There is a risk that “brief screening tools” result in “pathways” being followed that, despite good intentions, lead to greater prescribing of antipsychotics in our elderly. I am aware that currently “brief screening tools” are being promoted in Scottish NHS hospitals.

I wish to conclude with one recent example of many: an elderly woman, with terminal cancer returned to her GP after a recent period in hospital. She asked her GP “But why am I on this anti-schizophrenic drug?”

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