I’ve written before about how important it is to know what prescription medications are being administered in nursing homes and long term rehab facilities. Many do not have good efficacy, may be dangerous, or may cause problems when mixed with other medications. A new study indicates it is now also important to find out what… Continue Reading
Often, elderly people are prescribed blood thinners, otherwise known as anti-coagulants, like Coumadin and several others. While these drugs can significantly help with conditions such as DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) and strokes, they also present unanticipated dangers. If you have a loved one who is on one of these medications, it is important to know… Continue Reading
One of the most common illnesses I see in nursing homes is C-Diff – a bacteria that can cause severe dehydration or death. C-Diff is most common in nursing homes and hospitals, and 80% of fatalities from C-Diff are in people over 65. A recent article in the LA Times reports a recent study and… Continue Reading
A recent series of disturbing stories by NPR report finding with objective data what many of us practitioners know already – that in many substandard facilities residents are over medicated with sometimes dangerous medications just to keep them quiet. This is disturbing because these medications are sometimes powerful, dangerous, and ineffective. Some even get “black… Continue Reading
Many times I meet with families who were not told about medication changes or what a resident was prescribed. It is easy to know what a resident is prescribed. There is a document called a Medication Administration Record. Nursing home staff refer to this document as a MAR. It lists what a person is prescribed,… Continue Reading
In one of the worst examples we have seen involving the abuse of the elderly, a company whose product was only approved to promote weight gain for HIV patients started to aggressively promote Megace to frail and elderly nursing home residents when the HIV population began to dwindle. Knowing the dangerous side effects of this supplement (ie death), this represents a tragic example of profits over people. To read more, click here.
A recent article details a lawsuit by Public Citizen, a consumer rights and protection group, against the FDA to stop the sales of the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept in its highest dosage. The group says that the FDAs testing shows that the drug benefits at that dosage are outweighed by the dangers posed.
A recent article details a new program launched by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) called the “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes” in order to address the problem of over medication of the elderly suffering from dementia in long term care.
Ask any family member caring for an elderly parent with dementia about the number of medications prescribed and it’s likely to be quite a few. It is important to know what someone is prescribed and what for. A new study shows that roughly 20% of medications are prescribed “off label”. You can read an article discussing the study here.
Despite the fact that antipsychotic drugs are approved by the FDA for specific uses, these drugs really may be prescribed for anything. When a drug is prescribed for something it is not approved or labeled for, this is called “off-label” use.
Earlier this year, I reported about the potential dangers posed to senior citizens (and others) who were potentially exposed to bacteria from antiseptic wipes. Reports indicate that a child may have died from such exposure and we are aware of seniors who appear to have potentially met the same fate. Now, Federal regulators say that although the New York medical products maker promised in June to recall the product, it has since failed to launch that recall for nearly four months.
Many times I’ve written about the over-medication of the elderly – especially with anti-psychotics. Despite the fact that anti-psychotics are supposedly only for a small percentage of the elderly, many nursing home residents with dementia are given these drugs even though some have FDA warnings of an increased risk of death. This overuse of anti-psychotics was confirmed in a recent government audit.
According to The Wall Street Journal, new study published in Archives of Neurology, “showed that about half of elderly Parkinson’s patients with psychosis were prescribed an antipsychotic.” This is despite the fact that in 2005, the FDA issued a “black box” warning to antipsychotics due to an increase in risk of death in older dementia patients. “Black box” warnings are the strongest warnings given by the FDA and are placed on drugs where medical studies indicate that a drug carries a significant risk of serious or life threatening adverse effects.
It has been reported in Forbes Magazine that Johnson & Johnson has set funds aside for potential litigation relating to a probe which addresses whether or not the drug company engaged in illegal practices to promote this drug in nursing homes. Sadly, its use or over-use can be lethal for the elderly and vulnerable residents in nursing homes.
The Triad Group has initiated a voluntary recall for several of their products, including alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs and alcohol swabsticks. The recall includes sterile and non-sterile products produced by Triad Group and was initiated due to concerns from a customer about potential contamination. The products are thought to contain an objectionable organism, Bacillus cereus. The Triad Group is issuing the recall in order to ensure that they are not the source of the contamination issues.
Although psychotropic drugs are often used to control behavioral symptoms in nursing-home residents, recent data points out that these drugs are given to close to 2/3 of the dementia patients currently residing in nursing homes across the country and have devastating effects. The data states that prolonged use of these drugs leads to a greater risk of adverse effects and even death.
People with a loved one in a nursing home often become drug experts. Drugs such as Risperdal, Ativan, and Zyprexa are frequently used in nursing homes, and not always for the right reasons. Even though it is not allowed under Federal law or the New Jersey Responsibilities of Nursing Homes Statute, N.J.S.A. 30:13-3(f), nursing homes may use psychotropic drugs as “chemical restraints” simply to save time, make residents compliant, and for convenience of the staff. This can be especially true in understaffed facilities.
Theresa Walters, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, has been charged with conspiracy, distribution and possession of drugs and distribution in a school zone after police learned that she had been selling prescription drugs to residents at Sterling Manor Nursing Home in Maple Shade, New Jersey. Walters worked at Sterling Manor where she sold and offered to sell drugs to several people at the facility. It is not clear how many residents were offered the drugs or how many bought them.
We wanted to inform the readers of our blog that the Mass Tort Team of Stark & Stark is now reviewing possible claims against the popular osteoporosis drug, Fosamax. Patients who used Fosamax have reported serious side effects from the drug, including Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (also known as Fossy Jaw, Dead Jaw and Phossy Jaw), low-energy femur fractures and severe and painful injuries affecting bones, joints and muscles.
Lately there has been a lot of news about contaminated batches of the blood thinning drug Heparin injuring patients. The injury attorneys of my firm are actively investigating potential Heparin injury claims on behalf of people across the country.
We wanted to inform the readers of our blog of the recent recall for the drug Digitek. Digitek was initially prescribed to treat cardiac arrhythimas and heart failure, but more recently has been known to have devastating effects for those to have taken the medication.
Below is an extraordinarily promising article involving a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. A very significant component of nursing home and Assisted Living populations includes physically healthy individuals with developing Alzheimer’s.
Pharmacy records are critically important in the evaluation of claims involving improper administration of medication. They also provide a means by which advocates can effectively fact check whether medications that nursing homes claim are delivered actually are.
A new study has been developed with the objective to determine whether serum zinc concentrations in nursing home elderly are associated with the incidence and duration of pneumonia, total and duration of antibiotic use, and pneumonia-associated and all-cause mortality.