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People with dementia 'should be given sedatives only as last resort'

People with dementia 'should be given sedatives only as last resort'
8th June 2010

People living with dementia should only be given sedatives as a last resort, it has been claimed.

Those with the disease exhibit symptoms such as short-term memory loss, as well as difficulties with perception and spatial awareness.

This can often be translated as challenging behaviour, so carers may think that a sedative will help the situation, according to the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) South East.

However, psychoactive drugs can actually be very unhelpful as they can cause the condition to deteriorate, the group claims.

"That's why we need to stop people using it and it should only be used in consultation with a psychiatrist, very carefully monitored, and given in very tiny doses. It should absolutely be the last resort," said the DSDC South East director Penny Hibberd.

Her comments come after the Scottish government announced plans to reduce the "inappropriate use" of psychoactive medication in its National Dementia Strategy.