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Charities pledge cut in anti-psychotic drugs

26 October 2010

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A coalition of 44 organisations has put forward a number of pledges including one to cut the use of anti-psychotic drugs for patients with dementia.

In a bid to improve the lives of sufferers, the national organisations and charities have joined the Dementia Action Alliance.

They include the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, Alzheimer’s Society, BUPA, Dementia UK, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Royal College of GPs.

According to a government-commissioned review, around 145,000 people with dementia are wrongly prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

The drugs are used to treat aggression, agitation, shouting and sleep disturbance.

But evidence shows they cause around 1,800 deaths a year.

Ruth Sutherland, interim chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said the alliance provided an “unprecedented opportunity to bring about real change for people with dementia”.

Care services minister Paul Burstow said: “This Dementia Declaration shows tremendous commitment from across health and care services and the voluntary sector, to transform services and tackle stigma to make a difference for people with dementia and their families.

“Willingness to join forces to act should spur more organisations to join this movement for change.”

The declaration has seven aims, including the reduction in the use of anti-psychotics and patients having more control over decisions, being part of a community and living in an enabling and supportive environment.

Mr Burstow and Ms Sutherland will launch the declaration at a Department of Health conference on improving dementia care in central London.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Dementia Action Alliance