Atypical antipsychotic drugs controversy.

The term atypical antipsychotic drugs means a class of drugs that are the newer antipsychotic drugs on the market.  They tend to have less serous side effects than the older drugs called typical antipsychotics.  Examples include risperidone, and clozapine.  These atypical antipsychotics are also called second-generation antipsychotics. 

They act on many receptor types including dopamine and serotonin.  They are very selective dopamine receptors, and therefore produce less serious side effects than the older antipsychotics like Haldol.

The use of antipsychotic drugs in the context of treating the elderly with alzheimer’s disease or in nursing homes has become very controversial lately.  In particular, these drugs have a sedative effect.  The use of such drugs as a means to sedate patients to make them more manageable has been questioned due to the serious health risks of taking such drugs when other safer drugs will also produce the needed sedative effect.  Additionally, the use of these drugs to sedate patients in nursing homes costs Medicare millions of dollars in unnecessary medical bills.

Before someone is prescribed drugs, the physician must take the patient or their family through the informed consent process.  This means the patient must be informed of the risks and benefits of the proposed medication so the patient can make an informed decision about whether to take the medication.  When a patient is given these serious drugs without informed consent, or when these drugs harm the patient then the patient may have the right to bring a malpractice claim.

If you or anyone you know has questions about whether you have a medical malpractice case involving the use of drugs or medications feel free to contact The Bartinik Law Firm, P.C. at 888-717-4211.  We handle cases throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island, and have offices in Groton, Shelton, and East Berlin.  Our main office is in Groton, Connecticut.  

Peter J. Bartinik, Jr.
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Civil Trial Attorney, Practicing Law in Connecticut
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