Overuse of sleep and pain drugs ‘risks lives of dementia patients’
Thousands of dementia patients are at risk of death, sickness and broken bones because doctors are overusing sleeping and pain drugs that do little good, studies have revealed.
Experts urged staff to try to relieve dementia symptoms by better care rather than just reaching for pills.
About half of people with dementia struggle to sleep and similar numbers have chronic pain. It is estimated that 80,000 dementia patients with sleep problems take Z-drugs, which are thought to be safer than powerful benzodiazepine tranquillisers. At the same time up to 120,000 people, some 40 per cent of care home residents with dementia, are given opioid painkillers for chronic pain.
Two studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago yesterday found serious side-effects linked to…