Take heed when using antidepressants, council says

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Nursing homes need to appropriately evaluate residents for depression and use antidepressant medication judiciously, according to a council of long-term care professionals.

The Long Term Care Professional Leadership Council, which is composed of four different long-term care groups, recently released a statement about antidepressant use. It follows the release of F-tag 329 Unnecessary Drug guidance in 2006 as well as media scrutiny regarding the use of antipsychotic drugs for nursing home patients, the group said.

The statement presents instructions to nursing homes regarding the diagnosis of depression and the use of medication. For example, nursing homes should diagnose depression carefully, based on established guidelines, it said. Also, if medication is necessary, carefully consider the choice of medication, the dose and duration of treatment.

For more information, contact the American College of Health Care Administrators, the American Medical Directors Association, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists or the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care.