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Anti-psychotic medications should not be the first treatments doctors or patients think of when dealing with dementia in an elderly person, behavior problems in a child or insomnia in an adult, a leading group of psychiatrists says in a new statement.
The American Psychiatric Association's (APA) new list of questionable uses of anti-psychotic medications is part of a broader campaign to educate patients and doctors about unneeded and possibly harmful medical treatments and tests. The campaign is called Choosing Wisely, and so far more than 50 medical groups have chimed in with lists of common practices that patients and doctors should question — everything from ordering too-frequent colonoscopies to using antibiotics for colds.
The latest list focuses on an area that has been especially controversial: the potential misuse of anti-psychotic medications. These medications include older drugs traditionally used for conditions such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. But newer types, called atypical anti-psychotics, have been more widely used for patients ranging from unruly nursing home residents to children with with aggressive behaviors or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That's despite growing concerns about misuse and side effects.