CMS touts progress against antipsychotic overuse

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About 30,000 fewer elderly patients are currently taking the drugs to treat symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and hallucinations, the CMS reported.

Over-prescription of antipsychotics for the elderly has been identified as a problem in several developed countries. The drugs are often prescribed off-label for patients who become aggressive or violent as a result of their dementia. But antipsychotics come with risks for the elderly, including premature death, and are also costly to Medicare and Medicaid.

CMS's campaign began last year with the goal of reducing antipsychotic use in nursing homes by 15 percent.

Eleven states have hit or exceeded that goal, the agency reported.