DoH to cut antipsychotic drugs for dementia

Use of antipsychotic drugs for dementia should be reduced by two thirds in the next two years, the DoH says.

The decision follows a report last year warning the drugs were used too frequently in dementia care.

All PCTs will be required to publish details of action plans to improve dementia services, including how they aim to reduce the use of antipsychotics, the department said.

The plans were outlined in a new report that updates the goals of the National Dementia Strategy, originally launched in 2009.

In November 2009, a report commissioned by the DoH said antipsychotics presented ‘significant issues’ in dementia care. It said often the risks of prescribing the drugs outweighed the benefits.

In the strategy update, the DoH said it would continue to prioritise improving dementia care, highlighting the plan’s inclusion in the National Operating Framework 2010/11.

The NHS Information Centre has been commissioned to audit current standards of dementia services, including prescribing habits for antipsychotic drugs. Its initial findings are due in the autumn.

Earlier this year the department was criticised by the National Audit Office for failing to ensure strategy targets were being met.

A GP investigation earlier this year found that one in three PCTs still did not know how they would implement the strategy.

Almost half could not explain how they had spent their share of £60m of funding.

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