Understanding Antipsychotic Medication

picture of pills

California providers are 3rd best in the nation in reducing the use of antipsychotic medication. CMS Report.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as of Q2 2021 the use of antipsychotic medication in California was 10.7 percent compared to the national average of 14.4 percent.

California performs better than 47 other states, ranking 3rd lowest in the nation in using antipsychotics in skilled nursing facilities.

Since the beginning of the national campaign California providers have reduced the use of antipsychotic medication by more than 50 percent!

A broad category of medications, called psychotropics are administered by physicians in many healthcare and community settings, including hospitals, skilled nursing homes and assisted living centers. The term psychotropic is an all-encompassing description which includes mood stabilizers (anti-manic agents), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, hypnotics and antipsychotics.

Many CAHF members took part in a national effort to safely reduce the unnecessary use of antipsychotic medication in skilled nursing homes by 15 percent by December, 2013, and then by 30 percent. The goal was reached and surpassed. 


Commitment to Care

Long-term care doctors in skilled nursing settings strive to offer the best care possible using the least amount of medication.  When medications are appropriate, physicians must carefully weigh the dangers against the individual benefits starting with the lowest dose possible.  Physicians are also required to reassess the use of psychotropic drugs on a quarterly basis. 

In addition, the resident or a representative must provide informed consent regarding the use of these medications, except in emergencies. The use of psychotropic medication is legal and strictly regulated by the state and federal government.