'Chemical cosh' used on most elderly patients to keep them quiet

It’s one of the biggest drug scandals going – and it could affect you if you have an elderly relative or friend being cared for in a home or hospital, or even if they’re receiving nursing care at home.

There’s a very real chance they are being prescribed a dementia drug – often described as a ‘chemical cosh’ – and an official UK government review has discovered they are being prescribed merely to keep the patient quiet, and for the convenience of the nursing staff.

Overall, the drugs are being wrongly prescribed in up to 80 per cent of cases.  In the UK alone, this translates into around 150,000 people who are being given powerful anti-psychotics inappropriately. 

Worse, these powerful drugs are regularly killing the patient – around 1800 deaths a year in the UK are thought to be directly caused by the drugs -  or are causing strokes or they make the patient more unsteady on their feet.

The drugs were originally produced to treat schizophrenia, but they are now used on virtually every elderly patient in a care home or hospital in order to make them more compliant.

(Source: BBC, November 12, 2009).