WFAA Reports Anti-Psychotics Still Widely Used in Nursing Homes Despite FDA Warnings


WFAA investigations have found that nursing homes are still pushing anti-psychotic medications despite repeated warnings from the FDA and settlements. The investigation found that Jessie Stagner, a 96-year-old in good physical health, was living at an Austin nursing home when she was prescribed Risperdal, an anti-psychotic medication.

Stagner was showing signs of dementia, and the family claims that she didn’t have any psychotic conditions at the time of the Risperdal prescription.

Stagner’s family claims that the drug immobilized their loved one and changed her mental state. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a black box warning against the drug. The FDA has issued their highest warning against the drug linking it to an increase in death for dementia patients. The drug has never been approved for the treatment of dementia.

The investigation has found that nursing homes in Texas has continued to prescribe the drug to patients to “calm them down.” Doctors claim Risperdal increases the risk of patients falling and cardiac arrest. Jessie suffered a fall, which Risperdal is warned to cause, which family members believe led to her death.

The nursing home that she was in still prescribes anti-psychotic to patients that have dementia despite the FDA’s warnings to stop using anti-psychotics for dementia patients. The facility’s records claim that 25% of residents are still prescribed anti-psychotics that are not approved by the FDA.

WFAA’s analysis found that 9 out of 10 nursing homes in Texas still prescribe Risperdal and similar medications to patients. The medications are being used for reasons not approved by the FDA. Two court settlements have been filed against Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

WFAA claims that Johnson & Johnson used Texas as a model state to promote the drug. Federal and state attorneys claim that Johnson & Johnson used a scheme to get doctors to prescribe Risperdal for off-label use, or uses that it has not been approved for by the FDA.