To coincide with this year’s Carers Right Day on 2nd December 2011, the local NHS provider of mental health services is encouraging carers to get a medication review for the person they care for with dementia.
As part of The Right Prescription campaign, which was launched by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in October, anybody who is prescribed antipsychotic medicine for dementia is urged to get a medication review. This is to ensure people receive the most appropriate medication to enable them to have the best quality of life.
Antipsychotic drugs are frequently used to treat people with dementia if they have severe behavioural and psychological symptoms and can be an important part of their treatment. However, they can also cause side effects especially when used for longer than 12 weeks.
Commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs include:
•amisulpride (Solian®) •aripiprazole (Abilify®) •chlorpromazine (Largactil®) •fluphenazine (Modecate®) •haloperidol (Haldol®, Serenace®) •olanzapine (Zyprexa®) •promazine (Promazine®) •quetiapine (Seroquel®) •sulpiride (Dolmatil®, Sulparex®, Sulpitil®) •trifluoperazine (Stelazine®) •zuclopenthixol (Clopixol®) •flupentixol (Depixol®, Fluanxol®)
The Trust and other leading health organisations would like to see these drugs used appropriately, only when they are really needed and are urging people to get a review of prescriptions for the person they care for.
As part of the Government’s National Dementia Strategy targets have been set to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs by two thirds by 31st March 2012. The strategy encourages people with dementia, their carers and/or family to be involved in treatment decisions where possible and appropriate.
Working in partnership with carers, GPs and other health professionals the Trust aims to ensure people receive the most appropriate medication to enable them to have the best quality of life.
Speaking about the campaign the Trust’s Principal Pharmacist Mubashshir Fazlee said, "The Trust is asking local people if they care for somebody with dementia that is prescribed antipsychotic drugs to ask a GP or clinician about a medication review, to check they are on the right prescription. People living with dementia may be taking antipsychotic medication that they do not need. Whilst it would have been correctly prescribed there could be other alternatives available. We want to work in partnership with health colleagues and with carers to ensure people with dementia are getting the right prescription."
The Right Prescription aims to get everybody with dementia who is prescribed antipsychotics a medication review from their GP or clinician. The review will aim to find the best possible alternatives to their prescription and, in discussion with the patient and their carers, help reach a shared decision regarding future medication.
As part of the campaign, posters and special pharmacy bags have been distributed throughout sites in Wakefield to help reinforce the message.
To find out more about The Right Prescription campaign visit www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk/prescription or ask a GP or health professional for a medication review.